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JERUSALEM ARTICHOKE, EARTH APPLE, CANADA POTATO, GIRASOLE (H.







tuberosus), often called WILD SUNFLOWER, too, has an interesting history similar to the dark-centered, common garden sunflower's. In a musty old tome printed in 1649, and entitled "A Perfect Description of Virginia," we read that the English planters had "rootes of several kindes, Potatoes, Sparagus, Carrets and Hartichokes" - not the first mention of the artichoke by Anglo-Americans. Long before their day the Indians, who taught them its uses, had cultivated it; and wherever we see the bright yellow flowers gleaming like miniature suns above roadside thickets and fence rows in the East, we may safely infer the spot was once an aboriginal or colonial farm. White men planted it extensively for its edible tubers, which taste not unlike celery root or salsify. As early as 1617 the artichoke was introduced into Europe, and only twelve years later Parkinson records that the roots had become very plentiful and cheap in London. The Italians also cultivated it under the name Girasole Articocco (sunflower artichoke), but it did not take long for the girasole to become corrupted into Jerusalem, hence the name Jerusalem Artichoke common to this day. When the greater value of the potato came to be generally recognized, the use of artichoke roots gradually diminished. Quite different from this sunflower is the true artichoke (Cynara Scolymus), a native of Southern Europe, whose large, unopened flower-heads offer a tiny edible morsel at the base of each petal-like part. The Jerusalem artichoke sends up from its thickened, fleshy, tuber-bearing rootstock, hairy, branching stems six to twelve feet high. Especially are the flower-stalks rough, partly to discourage pilfering crawlers. The firm, oblong leaves, taper pointed at the apex and saw-edged, are rough above, the lower leaves opposite each other on petioles, the upper alternate. The brilliant flower-heads, which are produced freely in September and October, defying frost, are about two or three inches across, and consist of from twelve to twenty lively yellow rays around a dull yellow disk. The towering prolific plant prefers moist but not wet soil from Georgia and Arkansas northward to New Brunswick and the Northwest Territory. Omnivorous small boys are not always particular about boiling, not to say washing, the roots before eating them.





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