Helianthus annuus Linn. Compositae. Sunflower.
North America. This plant is said by Pickering to be a native of western America and is called in Mexico chimalati. Gray says it probably belongs to the warmer parts of North America. Other botanists ascribe its origin to Mexico and Peru. Brewer and Watson say in all probability the wild sunflower of the California plains is the original of the cultivated sunflower and that the seeds are now used by the Indians as food. Kalm, 1749, saw the common sunflower cultivated by the Indians at Loretto, Canada, in their maize fields; the seeds were mixed with thin sagamite or maize soup. In 1615, the sunflower was seen by Champlain among the Hurons. The seeds are said to be boiled and eaten in Tartary. In Russia, they are ground into a meal, the finer kinds being made into tea-cakes, and in some parts the whole seed is roasted and used as a substitute for coffee.
Gerarde, in, England, writes: "We have found by triall, that the buds before they be flowered, boiled and eaten with butter, vinegar and pepper, after the manner of artichokes, an exceeding pleasant meat, surpassing the artichoke far in procuring bodily lust. The same buds with the stalks neere unto the top (the hairness being taken away) broiled upon a gridiron and afterwards eaten with oile, vinegar, and pepper have the like property." In Russia, this plant yields about 50 bushels of seed per acre, from which about 50 gallons of oil are expressed and the oil-cake is said to be superior to that from linseed for the feeding of cattle. This oil is used for culinary purposes in many places in Russia. In Landeshut, Germany, the carefully dried leaf is much used locally for a tobacco. The seed-receptacles are made into blotting paper and the inner part of the stalk into a fine writing paper in the manufactories of the province. The stalk, when treated like flax, produces a silky fiber of excellent quality. The green leaves make excellent fodder, and Sir Alien Crockden, in England, is said to grow the plant at Sevenoaks, for the purpose of feeding his stock. The leaves, dried and burned to powder, are valuable, mixed with bran, for milch cows. The seeds are also said to be valuable as a food for sheep. The dried seeds are pounded into a cake and eaten by the Indians of the Northwest.
Helianthus doronicoides La.
North America. This coarse species with showy heads, of river bottoms from Ohio to Illinois and southward, is most probably, says Gray, the original of the Jerusalem artichoke.
Helianthus giganteus Linn. Giant Sunflower.
Eastern North America. The Choctaws use the seeds ground to a flour and mixed with maize flour for making a very palatable bread.
Helianthus tuberosus Linn. Jerusalem Artichoke.
North America. The name, Jerusalem artichoke, is considered to be a corruption of the Italian Girasoli articocco, sunflower artichoke. Gray thinks that this esculent originated in the valley of the Mississippi from the species of sunflower, H. doronicoides, Lam. It was cultivated by the Huron Indians. In New England, Gookin found the natives mixing Jerusalem artichokes in their pottage. They were growing in Virginia, in 1648 and at Mobile, Alabama, in 1775. The sunflower reached Europe in the early part of the seventeenth century, as it is not mentioned in Bauhin's Phytopinax, 1596, and is mentioned in his Pinax, 1623, where, among other names, he calls it Crysanthemum e Canada quibusdam, Canada & Artichoki sub terra, aliis. It is figured by Columna, 1616, and also by Laurembergius, 1632; Ray, 1686, makes the first use found of the name Jerusalem artichoke, though Parkinson used the word in 1640, according to Gray. In 1727, Townsend says "it is a Root fit to be eat about Christmas when it is boiled." Mawe, 1778, says it is by many esteemed. Bryant, 1783, says, "not much cultivated." In 1806, McMahon speaks of it in American gardens and calls it "a wholesome, palatable food." In 1863, Burr describes varieties with white, purple, red and yellow-skinned tubers.
The history of the Jerusalem artichoke has been well treated by Gray and Trumbull in the American Journal of Science, May, 1877, and April, 1883. It was found in culture at the Lew Chew Islands about 1853.2 We offer a synonymy as below:
- Flos Solis Farnesianus sive Aster Peruanus tubercosus. Col. 13. 1616.
- Helianthemum indicum tuberosum. Bauh. Pin. 277. 1623.
- De Solis flore tuberoso, sen flore Farnesiano Fabii Columnae. Aldinus, 91. 1625.
- Battatas de Canada. Park. Par. 1629.
- Adenes Canadenses sen flos solis glandulosus. Lauremb. 132. 1632.
- Flos Solis pyramidalis, parvo flore, tuberosa radice, Heliotropium indicum. Ger. 1633.
- Peruanus solis flos ex Indiis tuberosus. Col. in Hern. 878, 881. 1651.
- Potatoes of Canada. Coles. 1657.
- Canada & Artischokki sub terra. H. R. P. 1665.
- Chrysanthemum latifolium Brasilianum. Bauh. Prod. 70. 1671.
- Chrysanthemum Canadense arumosum. Cat. H. L. B. 1672.
- Helenium Canadense. Amman. 1676.
- Chrysanthemum perenne majus fol, integris, americanum tuberum. MOT. 1630.
- Jerusalem Artichoke. Ray 335. i686.
- Corona solis parvo flore, tuberosa radice. Tourn. 489. 1719.
- Helianthus radice tuberosa esculenta, Hierusalem Artichoke. Clayton. 1739.
- Helianthus foliis ovato cordatis triplinervus. Gronov. Virg. 129. 1762.
- Helianthus tuberosus. Linn. Sp. 1277. 1763.
Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World, 1919, was edited by U. P. Hedrick.