Helianthus tuberosus

Common Names: Jerusalem artichoke, sunroot, sunchoke, earth apple, topinambour
Category: Plants
Sub-category: Aster family

It is a herbaceous perennial plant growing to 1.5 to 3 m tall with opposite leaves on the lower part of the stem becoming alternate higher up. The leaves have a rough, hairy texture and the larger leaves on the lower stem are broad ovoid-acute and can be up to 30 cm long and the higher leaves smaller and narrower. The flowers are yellow, produced in capitate flowerheads which are 5 to 10 cm in diameter, with 10 to 20 ray florets. The tubers are elongated and uneven, typically 7.5 to 10 cm long and 3 to 5 cm thick, and vaguely resembling ginger root, with a crisp texture when raw. They vary in color from pale brown to white, red or purple.

It is most commonly found in Connecticut in flower gardens and as a crop in farms.

Edible Notes: The tuber have been historically used a food source by native Americans. They have also seen recent resurgence as a food crop marketed as a "sunchoke". They can be cooked like a potato or even eaten raw if sliced thin. They are fairly high in fiber (inulin) so they may cause gas and bloating. Commonly found in specialty and gourmet food stores including Whole Foods. They are becoming more common now.
Warnings: Not known to be dangerous.