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Jerusalem artichoke - helianthus tuberosus - flowers

Jerusalem artichoke, Helianthus tuberosus

Jerusalem artichoke, Helianthus tuberosus, is known here in the Netherlands as a so-called forgotten vegetable. To me that is funny, because this plant came to us from North America and cannot have been here for that long. And yet, it apparently ended up being forgotten already. It is rather unfortunate that most people no longer eat this plant, because it has many health benefits.

Medicinal properties of Jerusalem artichoke, Helianthus tuberosus

Jerusalem artichoke tubers contain a considerable amount of inulin. Inulin is also found in the root of chicory. This substance has a positive effect on blood sugar, intestinal flora and several other systems that are challenged in our current time and age, which can have grave consequences. The application of Jerusalem artichoke is relatively straightforward. You do not need complicated processing methods.

Magical effects and edibility

I cannot tell you much about Jerusalem artichoke’s magical folklore because we simply do not know a lot about the historical use of this plant in that respect. Of course, you can always use it in line with its medicinal properties. I can also imagine that this is a plant that you would use in earthy magic. I am talking about magic to ground, to firmly fill your own shoes and to counter emotional turmoil.
In terms of edibility, I can certainly recommend Jerusalem artichoke. I eat the tubers regularly, prepared in several ways.

Botanical description Jerusalem artichoke, Helianthus tuberosus

Jerusalem artichoke is a plant that can grow quite large, up to three metres. With its cheerful, sunflower-like yellow flowers, it is an asset to any garden. But for us, the underground tubers are the most interesting part. These are round to oval in shape with an erratically formed skin. They vary in colour from yellow to orange-red.
The stems display little or no branching with alternate leaves at the bottom and, more upward, opposite broad lanceolate leaves. The flowers are usually up to 8 cm in diameter with twelve to twenty ray florets. They generally do not yield seeds.

Interesting facts

Jerusalem artichoke spreads quite easily. If you have it in your garden, it is therefore advisable to eat it often or plant it in a defined area or large container.
During the Second World War, many people owed their survival to Jerusalem artichoke. This strong and fast-growing plant was popular as food then. The taste is somewhat similar to that of artichoke, hence the folk name that refers to it.

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