South Dakota Native Plant Research
Asteraceae : Helianthus tuberosus

Asteraceae : Helianthus tuberosus


Family Name


Common Name

Jerusalem artichoke

Native American Name

Lakota: pȟaŋǧí zí


Helianthus tuberosus is a perennial herb, growing from a tuberous rhizome, reaching 1 m to 3 m in height. The simple, leaves are opposite at the base of the plant, becoming alternate toward the top. The blades are ovate to lanceolate, 10-25 cm long, 6-15 cm wide and tapered at the base, forming a winged petiole. The leaf margins are usually toothed, and the lower surface covered with short woolly hairs. The inflorescence is composed of several to numerous heads, each with a disk 1-3 cm in diameter. The involucral bracts are in several series and slightly exceeding the disk. There are 10-20 yellow ray flowers with ligules 2-4 cm long surrounding many yellow disk flowers. The achenes are 5-7 mm long and lack hairs. Jerusalem artichoke blooms from August into October on open or shaded moist sites throughout South Dakota.

Additional Notes

Jerusalem artichoke spreads by rhizomes and can produce large stands in a garden. This species produces many bright flowers that attract bees and wildlife. They were cultivated by Native Americans for their tubers and are still grown by food naturalists today. They were even grown commercially in South Dakota but failed to generate a significant market. The tubers contain inulin, a low glycemic index carbohydrate.

Horticulture Notes

Seed Collection: Collect seed in late summer when they are easily removed from the heads. Germination: No treatment needed. Vegetative Propagation: Tubers can be separated in the fall for transplanting. Soils: Tolerates most soil types
Light: Full sun
Water: Moist to moderately dry.

Asteraceae : Helianthus tuberosus