What is it?

Gunnera manicata

This may be a native plant of Brazil, but there is some debate about that. It is thought to have been around for 95 million years.

The underside of the leaf and whole of the stalk have sharp spikes on them. The leaves of Gunnera grow to a massive size. Leaves with diameters in excess of five feet (1.5 metres) are commonplace and on a mature plant they spread to 10 feet by 10 feet.

The plant grows best in damp conditions so its suits our soggy garden very well! It is, however, very tender and doesn't like winter cold and wet. We use its own blackened and dead foliage (ruined after the first frost) to protect it in winter.

Plant type : Bog or Herbaceous Perennial

Habit : Clump-forming

Family : Gunneraceae

This genus was named after the Norwegian botanist Johann Ernst Gunnerus.

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