Jerusalem Artichoke
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Jerusalem Artichoke
P Introduced Photo: Anil Thakur
Common name: Jerusalem Artichoke
Botanical name: Helianthus tuberosus    Family: Asteraceae (Sunflower family)
Synonyms: Helianthus tomentosus, Helianthus pubescens

Jerusalem Artichoke is an erect, rhizome-forming perennial herb, up to 3-4 m tall. Flower heads are 5-11 cm in diameter, much smaller than that of the sunflower. Each flower has 12 to 20 showy, petal-like, bright sterile yellow rays surrounding many small yellow tubular fertile florets. It is perennial, but usually grown as an annual. It is a highly variable plant: many characteristics, including size, 2-4 m, tuber color, green or violet, stem number and the number of branches per stem are variable. The stems are generally hairy and branch in their lower part. The root system is fibrous and develops cord-like rhizomes that can reach more than 1 m in length. The tip part of the rhizome is swollen and forms a fleshy tuber. Leaves are opposite or alternate, ovate to lanceshaped, toothed, velvet-hairy on the lower surface and 3-20 cm long x 5-8 cm broad. The fruit is a hairy achene containing a mottled black or brown seed, 5 mm long x 2 mm wide. Jerusalem artichoke is mainly grown for its edible tubers, which vary in size and shape. Some are potato-like, small, round and knobby, while others are long, slender and smooth. Jerusalem artichoke tubers and aerial parts have long been used to feed cattle, sheep and pigs. Jerusalem Artichoke is native to North America, cultivated in India and elsewhere.

Identification credit: Anil Thakur Photographed in cultivation in Solan District H.P.

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