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Jerusalem Artichoke

(Helianthus tuberosus)

Other Names:

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Range:

Family:

Asteraceae Aster family

Identifying characteristics:

Growth Type:

An herbaceous perennial.

Height:

Up to 5 - 10 feet tall

Leaves:

Broad rough leaves. The upper leaves grow alternate, while the lower leaves often grow opposite. Leaves occasionally grow in whorls of three. Leaves can be up to 10 inches long.

Stem/Trunk:

Rough hairy stems.

Root:

Large, crisp tubers, (often as large as a medium sized potato) terminate slender runners that radiate from the base of each plant.

Flower:

Season:

An herbaceous perennial. Tall, 5'- 10' course sunflower with broad rough leaves and rough hairy stems. The upper leaves grow alternate, while the lower leaves often grow opposite. Leaves occasionally grow in whorls of three. The central disk of flowers is yellow. Large, crisp tubers, (often as large as a medium sized potato) terminate slender runners that radiate from the base of each plant.

Appearance:

Looks like a smaller sunflower, 2 - 4 inches in diameter, with 1020 ray florets. The central disk of flowers is yellow.

Seed/Fruit:

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Miscellaneous characteristics:

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Habitat:

Waste ground, damp thickets, fields

Parts Used:

Tuber

Uses:

Wild Food Uses:

One of the best wild food sources. The tuber can be used as a potato substitute, in salads, or can be pickled. The fresh tubers can be substituted in recipes that call for potatoes. The tubers are very high in vitamins A and B-complex. They are also high in potassium, phosphorus, iron, and copper. 1 cup of Jerusalem Artichoke root contains 650 mg of potassium. They are also an excellent source of fiber. Rather than starch, the roots store the carbohydrate inulin. It is because of this that, along with Burdock, Jerusalem artichoke is an excellent food source for diabetics.

Locating the plant in winter, when the flowers have long since dried up, and the leaves are gone, can be challenging.

I should offer one caveat; Just as with beans, eating the roots has shown to increase intestinal gas; I would imagine this has something to due with the Probiotic effects.

 

The following text is meant for informational purposes only. It is not meant to diagnose or treat any illness or injury. Always consult with a physician or other qualified medical care provider concerning the diagnosis and treatment of any illness or injury.

Medicinal Uses:

The tubers are very high in Inulin, which has been shown to maintain blood glucose levels. They have been used as a treatment for diabetes.

Medicinal Actions:

Antidiabetic

This photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

This photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

This photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

This photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

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Revised: 05/11/16 Living Afield