rheum

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rheum

a watery discharge from the eyes or nose
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Rheum

 

(rhubarb), a genus of plants of the family Polygonaceae. Rhubarbs are large perennial herbs. The flower stalk is solid or hollow and reaches a height of 1.5–2 m. The radical leaves, which have long, succulent petioles, form a rosette and are very large and usually entire. (R. palmatum var. tanguticum has five- to seven-lobed leaves.) The inflorescence is panicled or spicate. The flowers are bisexual; male flowers sometimes occur. The fruit is a brown, three-angled, winged achene.

Rhubarb is native to Southeast Asia, northern Mongolia, northern China, the Altai region, and Siberia. Of the approximately 30 known species (according to other data, 49), 22 are found in the USSR. Some species are cultivated as vegetable, medicinal, and tannin-yielding plants. The most commonly cultivated species are R. undulatum, R. compactum, and the garden rhubarb (R. rhaponticum).

Rhubarb, a cold-resistant plant, can tolerate spring frosts of - 10°C. Its growth is triggered by the thawing of the soil. The plant grows well at a temperature of 8°-10°C and requires little light. The soil must be fertile and damp, but there should be no standing water.

The leaf stalks, which are edible, contain as much as 2.5 percent sugars and approximately 3.5 percent organic acids (primarily malic, citric, oxalic, and succinic acids). They also contain potassium, calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium salts. Rhubarb is used to make compote, jelly, jam, and wine. The roots of R. palmatum var. tanguticum contain the laxatives emodin, chrysophanic acid, and anthracene glycosides; they are used medicinally in the form of powders, tablets, alcohol tinctures, and syrups.

Rhubarb is propagated from seeds, seedlings, or pieces of rhizome. The first crop is obtained two years after planting. The stalks, which measure 25–70 cm long and 1.5–4 cm thick, are gathered (by breaking, cutting, or mowing) from early May through the first ten days of June. The yield in the sixth or seventh year is 250–300 quintals per hectare. An early harvest (by ten to 15 days), with twice the normal yield, may be obtained by covering the plants with a synthetic film. Rhubarb can also be raised in hothouses from three- or four-year-old rhizomes.

Z. S. LEZHANKINA and N. I. OSINA

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
The bent back straightened, the eyes cast off their rheumy haze, and with a smile and a strong voice he thanked them for coming and for their support in the cause as he shook their hands.
Turning, he looked at me, his face slowly coming in focus, and I could clearly make out two rheumy eyes, stubble shading his chin, his pink, toothless gums.
Now I stand at the edge of an America rheumy with invasion and I wonder
ONe miNuTe the chicken, though a bit rheumy in the eyes, had been jerking around the pen, pecking at the feed in the tray.
Wearing green and gold jackets with Green Bay emblazoned on the breast and carrying yellow triangles of plastic that look like Swiss cheese, they cough and wipe their rheumy eyes.
One poor soul is told that she has "something rheumy about the eyes, nostrils that outflare a coney's, an overweening upper lip and a slightly pinched, high-pitched voice." (Rather oddly she is also told that she has "a pleasing countenance.") But men come in for some rough handling too: it's not enough for Simon to point out that an actor has bad teeth; he has to add to that he "looks carious all over."
Benea regards us warily through rheumy eyes, lights up a chemical-smelling Eastern Bloc cigarette, and proceeds to not answer a single question about his property or the Russian holding company that owns it.
glinted in many a bloodshot, rheumy eye and in the clearer, hungry eyes
Two rheumy eyed older men in red Arab headdress keep guard at the rear of the compound.
He taught wacky science lessons (trees are a leading source of air pollution) and delivered many dewy-eyed tributes to American heroes, some plucked from yesterday's headlines, some recycled from his rheumy memories of World War I.
On the party's return to the courtyard, 'here again was the same little Wretchedness waiting for its victim, with a smile of joyful, yet dull recognition, about its scabby mouth and in its rheumy eyes'.