Content Detail

The flower of Jerusalem-artichoke is a very tall yellow sunflower, which faces the sun during the day. It is possibly named for the edible tubers that grow from underground root structures that are said to have an artichoke-like flavor. This late summer to midfall perennial is a great choice for naturalizing a large area, native gardens, pollinator gardens, or meadows, though it may escape cultivation. This species is native to the Chicago region according to Swink and Wilhelm’s Plants of the Chicago Region and current research.

  • Family (English) Aster
  • Family (botanic) Asteraceae
  • Tree or plant type Perennial
  • Native locale Chicago area, Illinois, North America
  • Size range Large plant (more than 24 inches)
  • Light exposure Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily), Partial sun / shade (4-6 hrs light daily)
  • Hardiness zones Zone 3, Zone 4, Zone 5 (Northern Illinois), Zone 6 (City of Chicago), Zone 7, Zone 8, Zone 9
  • Soil preference Dry soil, Moist, well-drained soil
  • Tolerances Dry sites, Occasional drought
  • Season of interest late summer, early fall, mid fall
  • Flower color and fragrance Yellow
  • Shape or form Upright
  • Growth rate Fast
  • Wildlife Insect pollinators

Size and method of spreading:

Jerusalem-artichoke can reach mature heights of 6 to 10 feet tall and spread to 3 to 5 feet wide. This is a species that self-seeds and can produce colonies through underground stem structures (rhizomes). Jerusalem-artichoke is a perennial that will readily naturalize a large area.

Native geographic location and habitat: (include C-value if appropriate)

Jerusalem-artichoke is native to the majority of the United States. C-value: 3.

Attracts birds or pollinators: 

Bees are primary pollinators of Jerusalem-artichoke, with some species specializing in sunflowers. Other visitors include butterflies, flies, wasps, beetles, and caterpillars of butterflies and moths.

Leaf description:

Jerusalem-artichoke leaves are somewhat egg-shaped (ovate) with the widest portion at the base and narrowing at the tip (acute apices). The edges of the leaves are either toothless (entire margins) or serrated. The lower surfaces are hairy, and the upper surfaces may be hairy to almost hairless. They are attached by long stalks (petioles) that have wings along their edges, with the wings increasing in size near the leaf blades. The leaves closest to the base of the plant are often arranged in opposite pairs, while the leaves that are closer to the top occur singularly (alternate arrangement).

Flower description:

Similar to a daisy flower, Jerusalem-artichoke has flowerheads that are composed of petal-like ray flowers and a center of disk flowers. The ray flowers are yellow, long, narrow, and between 10 to 20 in number. The disk flowers are also yellow, small, and tubular with 5 lobes at their tips. The bases of the flowerheads are surrounded by two to three overlapping layers of long, pointed, leaf-like appendages (phyllaries). Jerusalem-artichoke flowerheads occur singularly on the ends of tall stems. They always face the sun.

Fruit description:

The fruit produced by Jerusalem-artichoke are small, dry, somewhat flattened with a ridge down the center, and tapered at one end (achenes). They may be downy or hairless (glabrous). Two thin, dry structures (scales) may be present at the tip, but they will fall off before the fruit fully matures.

Plant care:

Jerusalem-artichoke may require staking in areas that are exposed to high winds. These plants have the tendency to spread extensively via rhizomes, possibly requiring division. This tendency may make them difficult to remove from an area.

List of pests, diseases, and tolerances:

It may be susceptible to minor fungal issues such as fungal leaf spot, powdery mildew, or rust. This is not a deer-resistant variety and may be heavily foraged by mammalian herbivores.


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