Giant rhubarb Gunnera tinctoria
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An invasive, non-native plant.
This huge plant is very popular in gardens, where it’s grown beside ponds and in damp, boggy areas. It is easily recognised by its enormous leaves and spiky stems up to 2m tall.
What's the problem?
It readily escapes from gardens, and is sometimes planted or dumped in the wild. Once established, it can be very invasive as it forms dense colonies that block out native plants growing underneath it. It’s known as an ecosystem engineer as it totally alters the habitats where it grows. It is a particular problem in western coastal areas; in Ireland it invades agricultural land and has even been known to out-compete willow trees.
Rapid Risk Assessment
**** Urgent Risk
This species is listed on Schedule 9 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act in England and Wales therefore, it is also an offence to plant or otherwise cause to grow these species in the wild.