Did you know that rhubarb has flowers? I didn't. It makes sense - most plants have flowers of some kind. Generally, gardeners like flowers on plants where you eat the fruit or the seeds. But they don't like them on plants where you eat the leaves, stem or root. Once a plant has made flowers and set seeds, it stops putting energy into the other parts of the plant. Last year some of my onions did it, and when I cut up the onion bulbs they were all hollow in the middle. So gardeners are alert to plants "bolting" (it means making flowers, often on the end of a tall stalk), and the chop the flowerheads off when they see them.
I've never seen rhubarb flowers before, but this year rhubarb is bolting all over the allotments. It could be that the weather conditions are right for flowering rhubarb. But I've long had a sneaking suspicion that bolting plants send some sort of chemical signal to their fellows. When you let one go, they all start. Of course, that would also happen if they were all responding to the same weather conditions. What do you think? Is my "chemical signal" theory just rubbish, or is there something to it?
Anyway, the wonderfully phallic rhubarb flowers had to get the chop. I winced when I did it, but they had to go, or they would have sapped the plant and I wouldn't get any lovely pink rhubarb to eat and make chutney out of.