Jerusalem Artichokes

The Jerusalem artichokes on the property are in full (belated) bloom.  I hope for some good, tasty tubers this year.

Just a reminder:  the Jerusalem artichoke is native to the eastern United States, and its name is a colorful misnomer.  It’s not from Jerusalem, and it’s not an artichoke.

A local ditzy office worker who “knows everything” (no, really) has re-named them the “Israeli Sunflower,” even though they are native to the Ohio River Valley, and Europeans first saw them in Massachusetts in 1620–both of which, I think, are far from the Holy Land.

I’ve written before about how I have been schooled in this amazing fact.

The weird name is a historical accident.  Their Latin name is Helianthus tuberosus, and nowadays some call them “sunchokes.” (Helianthus itself is from the Greek helios, sun, and anthos, flower.)

They are tall and spindly, and have small flowers–closer to a daisy than a sunflower.  Their tubers are edible, and windy.

They are also highly invasive, which is why we have them corraled in a safe corner with no escape!

Repeat after me:  Je-RU-sa-lem AR-ti-choke.

About Jonathan B. Hall

Keyboard artist, sacred musician, teacher, writer, working in New York City and State. Many interests include music theory and history, literature, astronomy, genealogy, philosophy and theology, gardening, and good food.
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