Chilean Rhubarb

South America

General description

Clump-forming perennial herb < 2.5 m tall. Rhizomes are stout. Leaves are very large and prickly. Flowers are minute, green and borne on dense, closely branched, < 1 m long conical panicles in early summer. Drupes are c. 2 mm long.

What you need to know

To help protect our environment:

  • You must not breed, distribute, release or sell Chilean rhubarb. As Chilean rhubarb is a National Pest Plant Accord species, these restrictions apply within the Auckland region and across the whole of New Zealand.
  • You must not plant Chilean rhubarb within the Auckland region.
  • You must destroy any Chilean rhubarb on land that you occupy if it has been planted in breach of the above rules and you are directed to do so by an authorised person.

Coastal and riparian areas, cliffs, wetlands, disturbed sites, slips, roadsides.

Seeds dispersed by water, birds, wind and livestock. Vegetative spread from rhizome fragments.

Forms dense colonies, displacing and suppressing native vegetation.

Site Management

Follow up treated areas 3 times per year. Encourage natural regeneration of native plants or replant treated areas where possible after 2-3 treatments to establish dense ground cover and minimise reinvasion.

Recommended approaches

Physical control

Method: Dig out

Plant parts requiring disposal: Seeds and rhizomes

Disposal options: Remove to greenwaste or landfill if practical


Biocontrol is currently not available for this species.

Community agrichemical control recommendations

No qualifications
Cut stump and paste freshly cut base of stems with double strength glyphosate gel
Cut stump and spray freshly cut base with 200ml glyphosate green per 1L of water

Certified Handler/Experienced agrichemical user
Foliar spray with 200ml glyphosate green per 10L of water and 20ml penetrant

Safety notes

Plant has spines.

CAUTION: When using any herbicide or pesticide please read the label thoroughly to ensure that all instructions and safety requirements are followed.

Similar species

giant hogweed
Heracleum mantegazzianum

Giant hogweed's leaves are more deeply lobed. It has a tall flower stalk with large umbrella-like clusters of greenish-white flowers.

giant rhubarb
Gunnera manicata

G. manicata is a larger plant. The inflorescence is longer and less compact. Another difference is between scales which are found at the base of the leaves and inflorescence. In G. manicata there is a prominent development of membranous "webbing" between the main lobes of the scale whereas in G. tinctoria this is not well developed and so the lobes are often almost free to the main rachis of the scale.

RPMP status

National Pest Plant Accord Species
Whole region (Sustained Control)
Chilean rhubarb - Main species image