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Darmera peltata

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About Indian Rhubarb (Darmera peltata) Darmera peltata (Indian rhubarb or, ambiguously, "umbrella plant") is the only species within the genus Darmera in the family Saxifragaceae. It is a slowly-spreading rhizomatous perennial from mountain streamsides in woodland in the western United States (southwestern Oregon to northwestern California). In late spring the flowers emerge before the leaves, with rounded cymes of numerous five-petalled white to bright pink flowers (measuring up to 1.5 centimeter across each) borne on flower stems up to 2 meter long. The leaves are peltate, rounded, deeply lobed, coarsely-toothed, conspicuously veined and dark green, also on stems up to 2 meter in height. The leaves turn red in autumn.

In gardens, Darmera peltata flourishes in pond margins and bog gardens, where it forms an imposing umbrella-like clump. It is suited to smaller gardens where there is no room for Gunnera manicata or Gunnera tinctoria, unrelated plants that are somewhat similar in appearance, but much larger. It is easy to grow in the cooler climates of its native range, but is not happy in hot southern areas.

D. peltata has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.
Plant Description
Plant Type
Perennial herb

Max. Height
2 - 6.6 ft (0.6 - 2 m)

Max. Width
2 - 3 ft (0.6 - 0.9 m)

Mounding, Spreading

Growth Rate

Winter Deciduous

large rounded and lobed with irregular teeth, dark green

Flower Color
Pink, White

Flowering Season
Spring, Summer, Fall

Native Status

Natural Setting
Site Type
Rocky streambanks

Part Shade

Elevation ?
135' - 6708'

Annual Precip. ?
13.1" - 77.7"

Summer Precip. ?
0.33" - 2.18"

Coldest Month ?
32.2° F - 52.0° F

Hottest Month ?
57.1° F - 79.3° F

Humidity ?
0.33 vpd - 25.31 vpd

Soil Description


Cold Tolerance(° F)
Tolerates cold to 5 - 10° F

Sunset Zones ?
1*, 2*, 3*, 4*, 5*, 6*, 7*, 14, 15, 16, 17*, 18, 19, 20

Landscaping Information
Water Requirement ?
Moderate - High
Extremely Low
Very Low
Moderate - High

Moderately Popular

Max. Summer Water ?
Keep moist
No Summer Water
Keep moist

Propagation ?
Propogates by rhizomes. Divide the rootball and replant.

Common uses
Bogs and Ponds, Deer Resistant

Nursery Availability
Commonly Available

Sources include: Wikipedia. All text shown in the "About" section of these pages is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Plant observation data provided by the participants of the California Consortia of Herbaria, Sunset information provided by Jepson Flora Project. Propogation from seed information provided by the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden from "Seed Propagation of Native California Plants" by Dara E. Emery. Sources of plant photos include CalPhotos, Wikimedia Commons, and independent plant photographers who have agreed to share their images with Calscape. Other general sources of information include Calflora, CNPS Manual of Vegetation Online, Jepson Flora Project, Las Pilitas, Theodore Payne, Tree of Life, The Xerces Society, and information provided by CNPS volunteer editors, with special thanks to Don Rideout. Climate data used in creation of plant range maps is from PRISM Climate Group, Oregon State University, using 30 year (1981-2010) annual "normals" at an 800 meter spatial resolution.

Links:   Jepson eFlora Taxon Page  CalPhotos  Wikipedia  Calflora

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