William Delacour

Rhubarb Plant [Rheum palmatum]

This red chalk drawing of Chinese rhubarb was commissioned by John Hope two years after the foundation of the Leith Walk Botanic Garden in 1763. Valued for its medicinal properties, Chinese rhubarb was first introduced to Scotland via Russia that very year. After successfully growing the plant in Leith Walk, Hope distributed seeds around Scotland as an import substitute. The Duke of Atholl was particularly enthusiastic and planted huge quantities of rhubarb on his Perthshire estates, much commented on by travellers.

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