Jerusalem Artichoke
Helianthus tuberosus
Asteraceae (Composite Sunflower) Family

Plant is a stout branching, hairy perennial that is often seen in cultivation. Its preferred habitat is roadsides, sandy soils of prairies and waste places. Distribution is throughout the Escambia region.

The leaves are long; opposite on the lower stem and alternate on the upper; slightly winged leaf stalks; egg-shaped to lance-like; thick and rough.

The flower is a wide head bearing 10-20 rays with stiff bracts beneath the heads. Petals are narrow and spreading. Disc flowers are dark, bisexual in nature, and symmetrical in form. The yellow ray flowers are female and numerous. Flowers occur in late summer and early autumn.

Fruit is a seed in which the outer layer is fused to it.

This large, course sunflower was cultivated by early Americans and has spread eastward. The edible tuber is nutritious and, unlike potatoes, contain no starch but carbohydrates in a form that is metabolized into natural sugar.

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