Poor man’s sunflowers

Last year we grew Jerusalem artichokes for the first time. They looked good in the garden with their height, lush foliage and cheerful yellow flowers that looked like a poor man’s sunflower or a large daisy on stilts.

Jerusalem artichoke tubers

The plant also produced tubers which we made into soup. I loved it, then endured a horrendously uncomfortable evening, for reasons best explained by Gerard’s Herbal, printed in 1621. Gerard quoted the English planter John Goodyer’s opinion of Jerusalem artichokes:

“Which way soever they be dressed and eaten, they stir and cause a filthy loathsome stinking wind within the body, thereby causing the belly to be pained and tormented, and are a meat more fit for swine than men.”

Amen to all that.

We harvested a great crop of tubers and threw most of them out. But we accidentally left some in the ground. They sprouted and have grown well, though they’re a little shorter than last year. But still 2.5 metres tall.  Looks like we have a giant perennial weed.

As far as I am concerned, the only sensible use for this weed is as an ornamental plant. Here are some photos I took of it today (click to enlarge):

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