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Edible uses


Tubers - raw or cooked[1][2][3][4]. 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[2], 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[5]. The tubers bruise easily and lose moisture rapidly so are best left in the ground and harvested as required[5].

The inulin from the roots can be converted into fructose, a sweet substance that is safe for diabetics to use[2][6].

The roasted tubers are a coffee substitute[7].

Unknown part

Material uses

The plants are a good source of biomass. The tubers are used in industry to make alcohol etc[8]. The alcohol fermented from the tubers is said to be of better quality than that from sugar beets[9]. A fast-growing plant, Jerusalem artichokes can be grown as a temporary summer screen[5]. Very temporary, it is July before they reach a reasonable height and by October they are dying down[K].

Unknown part

Medicinal uses(Warning!)

Reported to be aperient, aphrodisiac, cholagogue, diuretic, spermatogenetic, stomachic, and tonic, Jerusalem artichoke is a folk remedy for diabetes and rheumatism[9].


Ecosystem niche/layer

Ecological Functions

Nothing listed.


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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[5]. 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[9]. 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[9].

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.

Practical Plants is currently lacking information on propagation instructions of Helianthus tuberosus. Help us fill in the blanks! Edit this page to add your knowledge.


A very easily grown plant, it grows best in a loose circumneutral loam but succeeds in most soils and conditions in a sunny position[10][11][12][13][9]. Plants are more productive when grown in a rich soil[10][12][13]. Heavy soils produce the highest yields, but the tubers are easily damaged at harvest-time so lighter well-drained sandy loams are more suitable[5]. Dislikes shade[10]. Likes some lime in the soil[11]. 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[9].

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[14][2][7][5]. 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[9]. The first frost kills the stems and leaves, but the tubers can withstand freezing for months[9]. The plants are particularly suited to dry regions and poor soils where they will out-yield potatoes[5]. Tuber production occurs in response to decreasing day-length in late summer[5]. Yields range from 1 - 2kg per square metre[5]. 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[9]. The plant is good weed eradicator, it makes so dense a shade that few other plants can compete[9]. 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[15]. Plants only produce flowers in Britain after a long hot summer[16] and seed is rarely formed[5]. Grows well with corn[17].

Plants can be invasive[10].


Problems, pests & diseases

Associations & Interactions

There are no interactions listed for Helianthus tuberosus. Do you know of an interaction that should be listed here? edit this page to add it.

Polycultures & Guilds




None listed.


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Full Data

This table shows all the data stored for this plant.

Binomial name
Helianthus tuberosus
Imported References
Edible uses
Medicinal uses
Material uses & Functions
Edible uses
None listed.
Material uses
None listed.
Medicinal uses
None listed.
Functions & Nature
Provides forage for
Provides shelter for
Hardiness Zone
Heat Zone
full sun
no shade
Soil PH
Soil Texture
Soil Water Retention
Environmental Tolerances
  • Strong wind
Native Climate Zones
None listed.
Adapted Climate Zones
None listed.
Native Geographical Range
None listed.
Native Environment
None listed.
Ecosystem Niche
None listed.
Root Zone Tendancy
None listed.
Deciduous or Evergreen
Herbaceous or Woody
Life Cycle
Growth Rate
Mature Size
Flower Colour
Flower Type

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"image:Sunroot top.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.

"image:Sunroot top.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.

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  1. ? 1.01.1 Hedrick. U. P. Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World. Dover Publications ISBN 0-486-20459-6 (1972-00-00)
  2. ? Uphof. J. C. Th. Dictionary of Economic Plants. Weinheim (1959-00-00)
  3. ? 3.03.1 Usher. G. A Dictionary of Plants Used by Man. Constable ISBN 0094579202 (1974-00-00)
  4. ? 4.04.1 Saunders. C. F. Edible and Useful Wild Plants of the United States and Canada. Dover Publications ISBN 0-486-23310-3 (1976-00-00)
  5. ? Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992. MacMillan Press ISBN 0-333-47494-5 (1992-00-00)
  6. ? 6.06.1 Hill. A. F. Economic Botany. The Maple Press (1952-00-00)
  7. ? Facciola. S. Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants. Kampong Publications ISBN 0-9628087-0-9 (1990-00-00)
  8. ? 8.08.1 Carruthers. S. P. (Editor) Alternative Enterprises for Agriculture in the UK. Centre for Agricultural Strategy, Univ. of Reading ISBN 0704909820 (1986-00-00)
  9. ? Duke. J. Handbook of Energy Crops - (1983-00-00)
  10. ? F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956 Oxford University Press (1951-00-00)
  11. ? 11.011.1 Simons. New Vegetable Growers Handbook. Penguin ISBN 0-14-046-050-0 (1977-00-00)
  12. ? 12.012.1 Thompson. B. The Gardener's Assistant. Blackie and Son. (1878-00-00)
  13. ? 13.013.1 Simmons A. E. Simmons' Manual of Fruit. David & Charles. ISBN 0-7153-7607-1 (1978-00-00)
  14. ? Grieve. A Modern Herbal. Penguin ISBN 0-14-046-440-9 (1984-00-00)
  15. ? Thomas. G. S. Perennial Garden Plants J. M. Dent & Sons, London. ISBN 0 460 86048 8 (1990-00-00)
  16. ? Clapham, Tootin and Warburg. Flora of the British Isles. Cambridge University Press (1962-00-00)
  17. ? Riotte. L. Companion Planting for Successful Gardening. Garden Way, Vermont, USA. ISBN 0-88266-064-0 (1978-00-00)
  18. ? Fernald. M. L. Gray's Manual of Botany. American Book Co. (1950-00-00)

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Facts about "Helianthus tuberosus"RDF feed
Article is incompleteYes +
Article requires citationsNo +
Article requires cleanupYes +
Belongs to familyCompositae +
Belongs to genusHelianthus +
Has binomial nameHelianthus tuberosus +
Has common nameJerusalem Artichoke +
Has drought toleranceIntolerant +
Has edible partUnknown part + and Root +
Has edible useCoffee +, Unknown use + and Sweetener +
Has environmental toleranceHigh wind +
Has fertility typeBees + and Flies +
Has flowers of typeHermaphrodite +
Has growth rateVigorous +
Has hardiness zone4 +
Has imageSunroot top.jpg +
Has lifecycle typePerennial +
Has material partUnknown part +
Has material useBiomass +
Has mature height2.4 +
Has mature width0.6 +
Has medicinal partUnknown part +
Has medicinal useAperient +, Cholagogue +, Diuretic +, Stomachic + and Tonic +
Has primary imageSunroot top.jpg +
Has search namehelianthus tuberosus + and jerusalem artichoke +
Has shade toleranceNo shade +
Has soil ph preferenceAcid +, Neutral + and Alkaline +
Has soil texture preferenceSandy +, Loamy + and Clay +
Has soil water retention preferenceWell drained +
Has sun preferenceFull sun +
Has taxonomic rankSpecies +
Has taxonomy nameHelianthus tuberosus +
Has water requirementsmoderate +
Is taxonomy typeSpecies +
PFAF cultivation notes migratedNo +
PFAF edible use notes migratedNo +
PFAF material use notes migratedNo +
PFAF medicinal use notes migratedNo +
PFAF propagation notes migratedNo +
PFAF toxicity notes migratedYes +
Tolerates nutritionally poor soilNo +
Tolerates windYes +
Uses mature size measurement unitMeters +
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