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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