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Helianthus tuberosus - L.                
                 
Common Name Jerusalem Artichoke
Family Asteraceae or Compositae
Synonyms
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Rich and damp thickets[43].
Range Eastern N. America - Nova Scotia to Minnesota and Kansas. Occasionally naturalized in Britain.
Edibility Rating  
Medicinal Rating  
Care
Fully Hardy Well drained soil Moist Soil Full sun

Summary       

Physical Characteristics       
 icon of manicon of flower
Helianthus tuberosus is a PERENNIAL growing to 2.4 m (7ft) by 0.6 m (2ft in) at a fast rate.
It is hardy to zone 4 and is not frost tender. It is in flower in October, and the seeds ripen in November. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, flies.

USDA hardiness zone : Coming soon


Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil. The plant can tolerates strong winds but not maritime exposure.

Helianthus tuberosus Jerusalem Artichoke


http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:PJF
Helianthus tuberosus Jerusalem Artichoke
   
Habitats       
Woodland Garden Sunny Edge; Dappled Shade; Cultivated Beds;
Edible Uses                                         
Edible Parts: Root.
Edible Uses: Coffee;  Sweetener.

Tubers - raw or cooked[2, 46, 61, 95]. The tuber develops a pleasant sweetness during the winter, especially if subjected to frosts, and is then reasonably acceptable raw[K]. Otherwise it is generally best cooked, and can be used in all the ways that potatoes are used[K]. The tubers are rich in inulin[46], a starch which the body cannot digest, so Jerusalem artichokes provide a bulk of food without many calories[K]. Some people are not very tolerant of inulin, it tends to ferment in their guts and can cause quite severe wind[K]. The tubers are fairly large, up to 10cm long and 6cm in diameter[200]. The tubers bruise easily and lose moisture rapidly so are best left in the ground and harvested as required[200]. The inulin from the roots can be converted into fructose, a sweet substance that is safe for diabetics to use[46, 171]. The roasted tubers are a coffee substitute[183].
Medicinal Uses


Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Aperient;  Cholagogue;  Diuretic;  Stomachic;  Tonic.

Reported to be aperient, aphrodisiac, cholagogue, diuretic, spermatogenetic, stomachic, and tonic, Jerusalem artichoke is a folk remedy for diabetes and rheumatism[269].
Other Uses
Biomass.

The plants are a good source of biomass. The tubers are used in industry to make alcohol etc[141]. The alcohol fermented from the tubers is said to be of better quality than that from sugar beets[269]. A fast-growing plant, Jerusalem artichokes can be grown as a temporary summer screen[200]. Very temporary, it is July before they reach a reasonable height and by October they are dying down[K].
Cultivation details                                         
A very easily grown plant, it grows best in a loose circumneutral loam but succeeds in most soils and conditions in a sunny position[1, 16, 37, 38, 269]. Plants are more productive when grown in a rich soil[1, 37, 38]. Heavy soils produce the highest yields, but the tubers are easily damaged at harvest-time so lighter well-drained sandy loams are more suitable[200]. Dislikes shade[1]. Likes some lime in the soil[16]. Jerusalem artichoke is reported to tolerate an annual precipitation of 31 to 282cm, an average annual temperature of 6.3 to 26.6°C and a pH in the range of 4.5 to 8.2[269]. Jerusalem artichokes were cultivated as a food plant by the N. American Indians and they are today often grown in temperate areas for their edible tubers. There are some named varieties[4, 46, 183, 200]. The plant is a suitable crop in any soil and climate where corn (Zea mays) will grow. It survives in poor soil and in areas as cold as Alaska. It also tolerates hot to sub-zero temperatures[269]. The first frost kills the stems and leaves, but the tubers can withstand freezing for months[269]. The plants are particularly suited to dry regions and poor soils where they will out-yield potatoes[200]. Tuber production occurs in response to decreasing day-length in late summer[200]. Yields range from 1 - 2kg per square metre[200]. The tubers are very cold-tolerant and can be safely left in the ground in the winter to be harvested as required. They can be attacked by slugs, however, and in sites prone to slug damage it is probably best to harvest the tubers in late autumn and store them over the winter. It is almost impossible to find all the tubers at harvest time, any left in the soil will grow away vigorously in the spring. Plants do not flower in northern Europe. They are sensitive to day-length hours, requiring longer periods of light from seedling to maturation of plant, and shorter periods for tuber formation. They do not grow where day-lengths vary little[269]. The plant is good weed eradicator, it makes so dense a shade that few other plants can compete[269]. The young growth is extremely attractive to slugs, plants can be totally destroyed by them[K]. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer or rabbits[233]. Plants only produce flowers in Britain after a long hot summer[17] and seed is rarely formed[200]. Grows well with corn[20]. Plants can be invasive[1].
                                                                                 
Propagation                                         
Seed - sow spring in a cold frame. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Division in spring or autumn[200]. Harvest the tubers in late autumn or the winter and either replant the tubers immediately or store them in a cool but frost-free place and plant them out in early spring. Jerusalem artichoke is propagated by tubers, which should be planted as early as possible in the spring when the soil can be satisfactorily worked[269]. Late planting usually reduces tuber yields and size seriously. Whole tubers or pieces about 50 g (2 oz.) should be planted like potatoes and covered to a depth of 10 cm. Pieces larger than 50 g do not increase the yield, though those smaller will decrease it. Deeper planting may delay emergence, weaken the sprouts, and cause the tubers to develop deeper, making harvest more difficult[269]. Basal cuttings in spring. Harvest the shoots when they are about 10 - 15cm long with plenty of underground stem. Pot them up into individual pots and keep them in light shade in a cold frame or greenhouse until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the summer.
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Expert comment                                         
 
      
Author                                         
L.
                                                                                 
Botanical References                                         
43200
                                                                                 
Links / References                                         

  [K] Ken Fern Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.

[1]F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956
Comprehensive listing of species and how to grow them. Somewhat outdated, it has been replaces in 1992 by a new dictionary (see [200]).
[2]Hedrick. U. P. Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World.
Lots of entries, quite a lot of information in most entries and references.
[4]Grieve. A Modern Herbal.
Not so modern (1930's?) but lots of information, mainly temperate plants.
[16]Simons. New Vegetable Growers Handbook.
A good guide to growing vegetables in temperate areas, not entirely organic.
[17]Clapham, Tootin and Warburg. Flora of the British Isles.
A very comprehensive flora, the standard reference book but it has no pictures.
[20]Riotte. L. Companion Planting for Successful Gardening.
Fairly good.
[37]Thompson. B. The Gardener's Assistant.
Excellent general but extensive guide to gardening practices in the 19th century. A very good section on fruits and vegetables with many little known species.
[38]Simmons A. E. Simmons' Manual of Fruit.
A good guide to some of the cultivars of temperate fruits. It covers quite a wide range of fruits.
[43]Fernald. M. L. Gray's Manual of Botany.
A bit dated but good and concise flora of the eastern part of N. America.
[46]Uphof. J. C. Th. Dictionary of Economic Plants.
An excellent and very comprehensive guide but it only gives very short descriptions of the uses without any details of how to utilize the plants. Not for the casual reader.
[61]Usher. G. A Dictionary of Plants Used by Man.
Forget the sexist title, this is one of the best books on the subject. Lists a very extensive range of useful plants from around the world with very brief details of the uses. Not for the casual reader.
[95]Saunders. C. F. Edible and Useful Wild Plants of the United States and Canada.
Useful wild plants of America. A pocket guide.
[141]Carruthers. S. P. (Editor) Alternative Enterprises for Agriculture in the UK.
Some suggested alternative commercial crops for Britain. Readable. Produced by a University study group.
[171]Hill. A. F. Economic Botany.
Not very comprehensive, but it is quite readable and goes into some a bit of detail about the plants it does cover.
[183]Facciola. S. Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants.
Excellent. Contains a very wide range of conventional and unconventional food plants (including tropical) and where they can be obtained (mainly N. American nurseries but also research institutes and a lot of other nurseries from around the world.
[200]Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
[233]Thomas. G. S. Perennial Garden Plants
A concise guide to a wide range of perennials. Lots of cultivation guides, very little on plant uses.
[269]Duke. J. Handbook of Energy Crops
Published only on the Internet, excellent information on a wide range of plants.

Readers comment                                         
 
Elizabeth H.
Merete S Sat Oct 2 14:03:06 2004
"Plants do not flower in northern Europe."

Can't be true, I'm in Oslo, Norway, and mine bear such amounts of flowers that I sometimes cut them and take them indoors.

Elizabeth H.
Sun Jul 11 00:26:22 2004
Helianthus tuberosus, native to Canada, and known to us here as the sunroot, is hardier in much colder overwinter temperatures than the 'zone 4' rating suggests. I have personally grown it where the temperature falls to -40, and harvested a good crop.

In its native Canadian habitat, it flowers only rarely, and I have yet to see any seed form. We propagate it by replanting tubers. I would be most grateful to be in touch with anyone who has harvested viable seed.

Terry J. Klokeid, Ph.D. 126 Amblewood Drive Fulford Harbour, SaltSpring Island British Columbia V8K 1X2 voi message/fax 250.653.4099 email klokeid@victoria.tc.ca

Amblewood Organic Farm Specializing in vegetable and herb seed for organic cultivation and adverse growing conditions

Elizabeth H.
Steve Dupey Thu Dec 1 2005
Love the flavor of sunchokes but eating a large helping of the cooked root causes near death from prolonged farting episodes. I tried converting the inulin to sugars buy slow low temp baking over two days in a casarole dish in my oven with something of the Indian camas cooking method in mind (undrground oven for three days... except that mine was a regular oven). Result was a dark brown extremely sweet but rather resony tasting product. This resony quality rendered it unattractive to eat, but substantial sugar conversion was apparent. Juice from the strained mashed product boiled down to a blackstrap molasses of sorts... but was still too resony for my tastes. Perhap one should drink their sunchokes as a distilled product to drown their regrets over the indigestibility of Inulin in such an easy to grow high- yielding rootcrop.
Elizabeth H.
ANDY LAPPAGE Sun Jun 4 2006
trying to find somewere that sell tubers to plant in uk
Elizabeth H.
Sun Jul 2 2006
For many years I have been growing H.tuberosus in central Québec, Zone 2 anf it is producing flowers in September before fall frost. It is very usefull for making wind shelter hedges around the garden or house. Cattle taste the foliage once a while but would like to see the result if silage was produce from it just like we do with corn. Marcel Ouellet
Elizabeth H.
ribadiere Fri Dec 21 2007
It seems HELIANTUS TUBEROSUS can reach a big biomass production,from roots to the upper part of the plant. In FRANCE,after 1945,several distillery factories were built and were successfull for some years,before oil stopped any development. In North America especially,several programs to produce ethanol with this plant. We should like to develop a collaboration to make the good seeds choice
Elizabeth H.
Peter Curnow-Ford Tue Aug 22 2006
We planted a single tuber, that had 5 shoots on it while it lingered in our vegetable basket. We now have 5 plants and they only need watering. Looking forward to Nov when we can start harvesting.
Elizabeth H.
Wed Feb 14 2007
Lyle - Feb. 13 2007 Grew them in SW Missouri last year - very, very easy to grow. I tried eating samples of them several times before the first frost & they were just ok. Then after Christmas I made a large stir fry out of them & they were absolutely delicious. I did have some gas, but not as bad as others have reported.
Elizabeth H.
Bullie Botma Tue Jan 30 2007
Looking for Jerusalem Artichoke cultivar "Columbia" tubers for South Africa
Elizabeth H.
Helena McGinty Sun Dec 24 2006
HELENA MCGINTY 24 DECEMBER 2006 Blackpool Lancs England I have some tubers if anyone wants some. I have no idea what variety they are they are just what we grew for years at my father's. I will revisit this web site weekly to see if anyone want some.
Elizabeth H.
John Kimberley Sun Apr 22 2007
ANDY LAPPAGE Sun Jun 4 2006 trying to find somewere that sell tubers to plant in uk I've just been given some after finding them advertised on http://groups.yahoo.com/group/WokinghamFreecycle/message/9823 I know it's nearly a year late but info might be useful.
Elizabeth H.
Wed May 30 2007
Where can one get a start of helianthus tuberosus? I live in Texas.
Elizabeth H.
Frank Cangelosi Sat Jul 7 2007
I live in tasmania, Helianthus tuberosus thrives here, to the point it can become a pest.

Flowerpot Organics Certified Organics

Elizabeth H.
Mike Sun Jul 22 2007
I grow organic Helianthus tuberosus in the UK and sell the tubers to whomever wants them. I harvest to order during eraly spring and summer so that growers have them when they show be sown. To discuss further or order mail me at mike@technospud.co.uk
Elizabeth H.
Mick Swinburn Sat Nov 3 2007
This year I planted a dozen 'Fuseau' tubers which seem to have done well. They grew to a height of 13ft 6ins and flowered in September-October. The foliage is now dying back. The leaves are yellowing but the thick stems look as though they will last forever. Should I leave them to die back naturally or should I be cutting them down and harvesting them?
Elizabeth H.
Brian Zoebisch Mon Dec 10 2007
Prior to researching this, from personal experience with the first batch that I steamed and ate that they were the source of an exceptionally painful gastrointestinal experience. However, to be fair, I did eat quite a large amount because they were just so good! Since that first experience I have been more cautious as to the quantity I ingest. These tubers have an amazing yield and taste quite delicious, although the skin can be very earthy. The cook extremely fast and are fantastic raw (remind me of Jicama). They are probably the easiest plant to grow, requiring minimal care. I planted in a raised bed, high in organic matter with a heavy top mulch of shredded leaves. I didn't water them once throughout the season. One cluster yields almost a full 5 gallon pail of tubers!! P.S. Mike you can just cut back the stalks when the foliage dies back.
Elizabeth H.
seif elyazal; Fri Dec 28 2007
that is nice , can u tell me from where can i buy some seeds of Helianthus tuberoses
Elizabeth H.
david nicholls, Wellington, New Zealand Wed Apr 23 2008
I've found this plant is indiffent to competition from the weed Tradescantia fluminensis or Wandering Jew (most people say Wandering Willie here nowdays)one of New Zealands worst and most pervasive weeds.Rare for a vegetable. I've also found it doen't mind some shade(the productivity may have been lower, I dont know).
Elizabeth H.
William Reeve Wed Apr 23 2008
I have grown H. tuberosus on tht coast of British Columbia for several years, far from its native habitat. In years with cool summers and less sunshine it grows but does not flower before being hit by frost However, it produces lots of tubers. Now, if only I could find one of those cultivars that produce less knobby tubers. I use it as a substitute for potatoes in some recipes such as vegetable borscht.
Elizabeth H.
Sherry Nay Sat May 24 2008
I live in northern B.C and was wondring if there is someone in Canada who would sell me some tubers please. You can send me an e-mail to sherry_nay@hotmail.com if interested please.
Elizabeth H.
Nigel Rolland Wed Jul 2 2008
I live in Ashton-under-lyne and I have been growing Helianthus tuberosus for four years now since buying a single potted tuber from the local farmers market. Cooking them has been a bit trial and error, I have generally boiled or roasted them or made them into soup but having read this I will try stir frying them or eating them raw in the future, can anyone point me to a database of recipes? I now grow them in tubs or raised beds and they keep well under earth, they have been a christmas treat when everything else in the garden has long gone.
Elizabeth H.
shinobu k crotts Sun Sep 21 2008
Where Can I get this plant ? If anyone knows any websights or stores, I would like to glow them in my back yard if it is possible, Please inform me, I'm in metro area in N.C. Thank you
Elizabeth H.
Ellen Lamberigts Wed Dec 3 2008
i'm writing a paper over this plant, and i need some old recipes of medecin for this plant. and also recipes that people used to make with it to make their health better, but that you can make yourself. you can always mail me at ellen.lamberigts@mail.phl.be Thank you very much!
Elizabeth H.
Wed Jan 28 2009
For the U.S. folks that want tubers they are commonly available in vegetable catalogs and through the seed savers exchange if you can't find any locally.
Elizabeth H.
George McLaughlin Jr Mon Feb 2 2009
I'm one of those who seems intolerant of ioline. But these are so good! And I used to eat them in quantity when a child. Seems to help if we boil them in two changes of water (about 5 minutes running boil in each). The water turns bright green and then I don't seem to have so much trouble. George Tahlequah, Oklahoma, USA
Elizabeth H.
Matthew Sleigh Mon Mar 23 2009
I have just dug up several kilos of Fuseau Rose tubercles. The tubercles grew in about 3 months here in Bukidnon - Philippines, which is pretty close to the equator. The soil surface area for the 2 plants was a maximum of 50 cm by 1 meter. The tubercles are smaller, paler and have little or no hard skin, compared to the original plants I was growing in southern France. It will be interesting to see what the other plants do. 2 of the other tubers only sprouted a few weeks ago, and are now growing well. I have also replanted several tubers ( of about 50g each ) in much softer soil. Diabetes is a big health problem here, so I am growing many plants that are said to be helpful.

Some plants said to be useful for diabetes sufferers

Elizabeth H.
Maggie, Southampton, UK Thu Apr 23 2009
We are growing these for the first time in the south of England. They have all sprouted well just recently despite planting the tubers on Feb 11th this year. Noticing a few nibbled leaves now so have been covering them at night with upturned pots but they are getting a bit big now, so hope those slugs or a late frost don't get them! We've taken note of the 'inulin effect' with due care and will feed back when they are ultimately harvested!!
Elizabeth H.
Raffi Sun Jul 12 2009

Plants.am - Garden plant encyclopedia Photos and growing information for Jerusalem artichokes.

Elizabeth H.
Valerie Wed Oct 14 2009
I am pretty sure I have corectly identified this plant growing in a roadside ditch (z3-4NY, along with hemerocalls fulva. The plants grow to five feet or taller with many flowers per stalk, and they smell faintly of Tootsie Rolls. The leaves feel very scratchy,as does the stalk. Maybe someone could confirm my suspicions with a pic of the stalk and leaves...? This plant flowers every year.
Elizabeth H.
Lise Anne Janis Sun Oct 18 2009
A friend gave some to me. I planted them near the front of the garden in order to provide a screen from the road. The second year they took over! Some plants are 8' tall. They didn't flower until September and now I'm carefully digging out all the tubers because they took over my vegetable garden. I tried weeding them out throughout the summer but removing one plant only caused 5 more to grow. This is a very invasive plant! - Lise in Guelph ON
Elizabeth H.
Valdo Raudsepp Sat Oct 31 2009
I leave in North-Europa in Estonia and have been experimenting with Jerusalem Artichokes as fuel ethanol feedstock. Some varieties flower even here. I am looking for following USA origin varieties - Stampede and Maine Giant. Also Russian origin varieties Nahodka and Novost Vira are very interesting. By the way the last one is hybrid of Jerusalem Artichoke and Sunflower. Can trade for German origin high productivity early maturing varieties like Topstar or Gute Gelbe. E-mail yourdreamou(at)gmail.com
Elizabeth H.
Nigel Murison Sat Oct 31 2009
I have tubers for sale this year 2009 U.K.ONLY.email nigelsgreennotebook@hotmail.com
Eric G.
Click the link to a post on my website (in Dutch). Nov 20 2010 12:00AM
I'm growing Topinambour in several pots on my balcony. As well as in several gardens. Today my gardener's world was rocked when I weighed my harvest from just one flower pot on my south side balcony. This year's harvest from a large flower pot on my balcony turned out to be 863 tons per hectare. The harvest from the pot was 6,1 kilo. The pot has a surface of 0,07 square metres. Hence the figure of 863.000 kilos per hectare. Click the link to a post on my website (in Dutch).
SamsaraNirvana.com
Paulo B.
Jun 27 2011 12:00AM
I grew Jerusalem Artichokes in Austria and plants grew well but did not flower (they were growing in partial shade). You can abandon them, they grow well without any care. They produce rather heavily, even when I grew them in poor and dry soils. The pity is that the cooked tubers gave us some stomach ache and gas. They don't taste bad. Maybe your body can get used to them. Its a pity because they are so productive. Now I am growing them in Iceland, and plants have been growing well, but slowly, and for sure will not flower at this growth rate.
Paulo B.
Jun 27 2011 12:00AM
I can also confirm their use as a very good edge plant. They grow tall, and stand strong winds.
Paulo B.
Jun 27 2011 12:00AM
Another detail, the leaves are frost sensitive. But if top growth dies, new growth will come again from the tubers.
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