Images and an introduction to the plant family Gunneraceae
Some other species that show some similarities (which may not be evolutionary homology!) with Gunnera
Often referred to with the highly descriptive Petliphyllum peltata (a synonym for the preferred Darmera peltata) in the family Saxifragaceae. This species is native to rocky streams of the hills of Northern california and Southern Oregan (the Klamath Hills and northern Sierra Nevada). This is a monotypic Genus of one of the many distinctive representatives of the Saxifrage diversity of california.
This example was photographed in early April, showing how the flowers emerge first in spring from the perennial rhizome, the large toothed peltate leaves (which recall Gunnera) emerge later, and give this species its common names of "Indian rhubard" or "umbrella plant", see example here.
Chrysosplenium davidianum, native to Yunnan China, represents a genus of primitive Saxifrages with tricolpate pollen. Which have morphological similarities to small Gunnera (e.g. Ostenigunnera) and may be informative about the habit, form and ecology and the ancestors of Gunnera. (See discussion in Fuller and Hickey 2005).
Recent genetic analyses have favoured a relationship between Gunneraceae and Myrothamnaceae. For a description and photos, see here.
Gunnera has no relationship to cultivated rhubarb despite superficial similarity. Below, rhubarb, Rhuem raponticum (Polygonaceae):
return to Gunnera homepage