Recently I've come to learn that Rhubarb is not native. Which was surprising to me because I see it everywhere. It came over from our European immigrants and has been hanging out ever since.
Last spring I was hiking in a forest in ND, and came across a beautiful patch of rhubarb. This got me thinking -- where did this patch of Rhubarb come from? If all local Rhubarb eventually can be traced back to the mother plant brought over from Europe as immigrants made their way west, could we use genetic markers to trace individual patches back to specific homesteads, and ultimately to specific counties of origin in Europe? This kind of thing fascinates me.
According to the linked article, the plant originally came from China. So in theory, only part of the story would be told by linking a patch back to Europe. You could continue to trace back all the way to China.
For me it was always a frustrating species, very reluctant to grow and prone to death sentence by slug.
So rhubarb went from something you'd send to the Pope to curry favor, to a very common plant in the gardens of the poor, in less than a century.
The wikipedia page also mentions what seems like a important tidbit: the stalks remain toxic if frostbitten.
It also makes tremendous wine, especially when blended with Grigio.
Nowadays I live in Finland, and I was recently pleased to see some wild rhubarb growing in a local park. I'm planning on harvesting some of it later in the summer.
As for location, I grew up in Illinois, my grandmother was from Arkansas, and my grandfather and his mother, while being from Illinois, traced their family roots back to Pennsylvania Dutch.
I still prefer the raw stalk to anything else.
Also no mention of roobarb and custard -
I was told it's from Gloucestershire in the 1930s, but I have no way of knowing if that's true.
I can't get my head round their shoes.