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.
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):