Chinese Artichokes are not only edible but they have many other uses too. They are one of the most popular vegetables grown in China. There are two kinds of Chinese artichokes: the white and red varieties. White artichokes grow well in cool climates while red ones thrive in warm climates. Both types have similar nutritional value, however, there is a difference between them. Red variety contains higher levels of vitamin C than white variety. White artichokes contain high amounts of vitamins A, B1, B2, C and K. They are very rich in fiber and contain antioxidants such as flavonoids. White artichokes are also good sources of protein and iron.
The Chinese Artichoke plant grows from spring until autumn in temperate regions and from winter till spring in tropical areas. It prefers moist soil with lots of organic matter. The leaves are oval shaped and the flowers are borne in clusters on long stalks.
The fruit is a greenish-yellow capsule containing seeds. Chinese artichokes produce their fruits year round except during frosty winters when they lose some of their foliage.
Growing Requirements For Chinese Artichokes
In order to grow Chinese artichokes successfully, it’s necessary to have a suitable location where they will flourish naturally. They are grown commercially in Mediterranean countries and the United States.
The ideal temperature for chinese artichokes growth is between 65-75 °F (18-24 °C). Days with temperatures above 21 °C (70 °F) and nights with temperatures above 10 °C (50 °F) are considered best for their cultivation. The plants thrive in humid conditions with rainfall of up to 1 m (3 feet) per year.
They can survive in arid regions but only if there is at least some rainfall.
The plant can grow in a wide range of pH values (5-8) but the soil should be slightly acidic. The ideal condition for cultivation is clay loam soil that is well drained and not too sandy or rocky.
When it comes to soil, chinese artichoke prefers soil that is rich in organic matter such as decomposed leaves, grass clippings or manure. When these are not available, you can fertilize the soil before sowing by using compost or rotted manure. A balanced fertilizer such as 15-5-20 can also be added at the rate of 800 g per 100 sq.
m (1/2 oz per 10 ft).
The seeds should be covered with soil, ideally around 2 cm (1 inch). The seeds should be kept moist until they germinate and should be kept weeded while they are growing.
The soil should be watered in dry weather and the plants should be protected from frost. If frost is expected, the plants can be covered with sheets, horticultural fleece or other materials.
Pruning chinese artichoke plants helps keep them healthy and encourages new growth. They should be pruned after the leaves turn yellow. The tubers can then be harvested as required.
Harvesting And Storing
The flowers bloom from spring to fall. Each flower has a spathe and a spadix. The spathe is a green or brown leaf-like structure that is used to attract insects like bees for cross-pollination.
The spadix consists of a bundle of yellow flowers that surround the female flowers at the base.
The tubers form where the flowers were attached to the spadix. They are 2-4 in (5-10 cm) below the soil and grow in clusters. When the foliage turns yellow, the tubers can be harvested.
The tubers should be stored in a dry place at temperatures from 4-8°C (40-45°F). The roots should be kept at a low humidity level to prevent the skin from turning brown and must be used immediately, refrigerated or frozen.
1. USDA Hardiness Zone 8
2. Stems are not winged
3. Leaves are large and heart-shaped
4. Plant grows to a height of 1.8 m (6 feet)
5. Stems have soft hairs
6. Blooms from March to May
7. Plant is covered with soft hairs
8. Stems are winged
9. Leaves are small and narrow
10. Plant grows to a height of 0.6 m (2 feet)
11. Plant prefers wide range of temperatures (28-32°C)
12. Stems are winged
What is the difference between Chinese artichoke, salsify and scorzonera?
All three plants belong to the same family and have edible roots. They can be used interchangeably.
Is there a difference between chinese artichoke and sunchoke?
Yes, sunchokes (or jersulin) are not from China but from North America. The name is derived from “wild carrot” while “artichoke” refers to the shape and color of the mature flower.
How do I cook chinese artichoke?
The best way is to cut them into pieces, steam for 25-30 minutes and then add butter or oil. You can also fry or add them to soup. They taste like a combination of potato and chestnut. The plant produces an inedible leaf and flower stem.
How do I prepare chinese artichoke seeds?
They require a process similar to what is required for other seeds such as pumpkin or sunflowers. You can use oil, butter, water or any combination of these.
Salsify is quite similar to chinese artichoke.
How do I tell the difference between them?
The easiest way is to taste a bit of the raw root. If it tastes like a sweet nut (like a chestnut), then it is a salsify. If it tastes like a crunchy carrot, then it is a scorzonera. Both plants have similar flavors.
Are chinese artichoke plants poisonous?
No, they are not poisonous. The raw plant has a mild toxicity and should be eaten in moderation. It can also be toxic if consumed in large quantities or with other dietary items like dairy.
Chinesische Wurzelspinat (Scorzonera hispanica)
Wikipedia: Chinese Artichoke
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Sources & references used in this article:
Stachys (Chinese artichoke)-a root vegetable that should not be despised. by A Desnoy – Courrier horticole, 1960 – cabdirect.org
Perennial Vegetables: From Artichokes to Zuiki Taro, A Gardener’s Guide to Over 100 Delicious and Easy to Grow Edibles by E Toensmeier – 2007 – books.google.com
New horizons for artichoke cultivation by JI Macua – VI International Symposium on Artichoke, Cardoon and …, 2006 – actahort.org
Natural coffee substitute by M MacLean – US Patent 4,699,798, 1987 – Google Patents
Stachys affinis by TK Lim – Edible Medicinal and Non-Medicinal Plants, 2016 – Springer
Effect of spectral quality of monochromatic LED lights on the growth of artichoke seedlings by RC Rabara, G Behrman, T Timbol… – Frontiers in Plant …, 2017 – frontiersin.org
Ethnobotanic study of medicinal plants in Urmia city: identification and traditional using of antiparasites plants by M Bahmani, SA Karamati, H Hassanzadazar… – Asian Pacific Journal of …, 2014 – Elsevier