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common name: Jerusalem Artichoke, Sun Root
full sun, part shade
dry soil, moist soil, sandy soil
preferred soil pH: any
minimum temp: -18°C
USDA zone: 3 to 10
Grown for its edible tuberous roots but also has pretty yellow flowers. Large, gangly, multi-branched perennial with coarse ovate leaves and numerous yellow flowerheads in late summer. Can grow quite large and may spread quickly. The edible, segmented and knobbly tubers are produced just below the ground on thin white rhizomes.
Almost any loose, moderately well drained soil, preferably in full sun. Tubers develop best with regular watering but plants will tolerate periods of drought. Can become invasive.
From tubers, planted out in spring.
First cultivated by Native Americans and then later by white settlers. Now commonly grown as a vegetable crop in Europe, but no longer as popular as it once was. The tubers are sweet tasting, being rich in inulin, a type of fructose, a natural sugar. They do not contain starch and can be used in special diets to substitute potatoes.
Useful in the wildlife garden, the flowers are attractive to butterflies and the seeds are eaten by birds.
The common name probably comes from a coruption of its Italian name, girasole articiocco.