As a surgeon Bell also showed interest in medical plants, especially in rhubarb, which still at that time
kept an important place in the medical practice. Bell came to speak of the rhubarb (p.107) when describing the
marmot, since in Mongolia, where one sees some rhubarb plants growing, he can also suspect a colony of
marmots. Bell then states that he will describe the plant more in detail, since he had “never met with an
author, or person who could give a satisfactory account where, or how it grows”.
17) Bell's description of the
collecting and treatment of the plant seems to have been well noted, since it is still quoted in the
Encyclopaedia Britannica 11 ed. 1911, Vol. 23 p.273.