I've got a lovely rhubarb plant. Nice stalks, huge leaves. The biggest leaves have veins in them bigger than some of the smaller stalks. It seems a shame to throw them away— but obviously I am not keen on poisoning myself and my family.

Are these 'veins' part of the poisonous leaf, or the delicious, safe stem?

  • 4
    Your question contains false assumptions. There is no "poisonous leaf" and "safe stem". There is "toxic leaf" and "toxic stem" with the amount of oxalate in the leaf being higher in the leaf. I don't know whether the amount in the vein is higher or lower than in the "leafy" part of the leaf, but I doubt that anybody has ever bothered to measure it.
    – rumtscho
    Apr 21, 2015 at 18:22
  • 1
    Translated...I wouldn't try
    – Escoce
    Apr 21, 2015 at 19:23
  • 1
    Also, it's the same toxin that's in spinach and chard and several other greens, but rhubarb leaves have a LOT more oxalic acid and is not edible. The stalks are edible, but I t's much safer when they are cooked.
    – Escoce
    Apr 21, 2015 at 19:25
  • 1
    – user34961
    Apr 22, 2015 at 11:27

1 Answer 1


It's an old source (1922), but divides the rhubarb into "leaf stalks", "prominent veins," and "leaves." It states that the leaf stalks are the only edible portion.(1)

In addition, oxalates are in all parts of the plant. But only specifically stated to be in lower quantities in the stalk (2). In fact, people susceptible to kidney stones can be advised to avoid even rhubarb stalks (4). Cooking the leaves can actually INCREASE the toxicity. (3)

Logic would dictate that the veins, being the transition point from stalks to leaves would have a value in between the values in the stalks and leaves. Thus safety indicates one should avoid eating them.

Sources: 1: https://books.google.com/books?id=_GDXAAAAMAAJ&pg=PR3#v=onepage&q&f=false 2: http://www.rhubarbinfo.com/poison 3: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhubarb 4: http://www.healwithfood.org/health-benefits/rhubarb-stalks.php

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