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Stachys affinis - Bunge.                
                 
Common Name Chinese Artichoke, Artichoke betony
Family Lamiaceae or Labiatae
Synonyms S. sieboldii. S. tuberifera.
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Wet and submersed areas; 0-3200 m. Gansu, Hebei, Nei Mongol, Ningxia, Qinghai, Shaanxi, Shandong, Shanxi, Xinjiang[266]
Range E. Asia - China, Japan.
Edibility Rating  
Medicinal Rating  
Care
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun

Summary       

Physical Characteristics       
 icon of manicon of flower
Stachys affinis is a PERENNIAL growing to 0.5 m (1ft 8in).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 5 and is not frost tender. It is in leaf 11-May It is in flower from Jul to August. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.

USDA hardiness zone : 4-8


Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

Stachys affinis Chinese Artichoke, Artichoke betony


biolib.de
Stachys affinis Chinese Artichoke, Artichoke betony
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Jonathaneo
   
Habitats       
 Cultivated Beds;
Edible Uses                                         
Edible Parts: Leaves;  Root.
Edible Uses:

Tubers - raw or cooked[1, 2, 4, 16, 33]. Quite a pleasant mild flavour and easily digested[46], but fairly small and fiddly[K], they are about 5 - 8cm long and 2cm wide[200, 206]. A nutty artichoke-like flavour[183], it can be eaten raw on its own, be added to salads or be lightly cooked[K]. The tubers quickly discolour when exposed to the air[200] and are said to lose their flavour if they are peeled[183]. It is best to harvest them as required[206]. Yields are about 1kg per square metre[200]. Leaves - cooked. A famine food, they are only used when all else fails[179].
Medicinal Uses


Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Anodyne.

The dried and powdered root is anodyne[218]. The entire plant has been used in the treatment of colds and pneumonia[266].
Other Uses
None known
Cultivation details                                         
Prefers a well-drained soil in a sunny position[16]. Thrives in an ordinary garden soil[1], preferring one that is not too heavy[16, 33]. It grows best in a soil that has been well fed and does not dry out in the growing season[16]. Plants seem to withstand even water-logged conditions in the winter[206]. The Chinese artichoke is occasionally cultivated for its edible tubers, they are planted out in March and harvested from October onwards[1, 58, 61]. Although top growth is killed back by frost, the tubers are very hardy and can be left in the ground over winter to be harvested as required[200]. It is virtually impossible to find all the tubers, there are always some left behind that will grow the following season[K]. Plants are very tolerant of high summer temperatures[206]. The tubers begin to sprout at temperatures above about 5°c[206]. Plants take 5 - 7 months to develop their tubers[206]. Plants rarely flower in Britain[1].
                                                                                 
Propagation                                         
Seed - sow spring in a cold frame. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle. If sufficient growth has been made, it is possible to plant them out during the summer, otherwise grow them on in pots for their first summer, leaving the tubers in the pots to overwinter in a cold frame and then plant out in late spring when in active growth. Seed is rarely if ever produced on plants growing in Britain. Division. The tubers can be harvest and replanted at any time whilst they are dormant. They do start into growth fairly early in the year so it is better to have moved them by the end of March[K].
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Expert comment                                         
 
      
Author                                         
Bunge.
                                                                                 
Botanical References                                         
200266
                                                                                 
Links / References                                         

  [K] Ken Fern Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.

[1]F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956
Comprehensive listing of species and how to grow them. Somewhat outdated, it has been replaces in 1992 by a new dictionary (see [200]).
[2]Hedrick. U. P. Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World.
Lots of entries, quite a lot of information in most entries and references.
[4]Grieve. A Modern Herbal.
Not so modern (1930's?) but lots of information, mainly temperate plants.
[16]Simons. New Vegetable Growers Handbook.
A good guide to growing vegetables in temperate areas, not entirely organic.
[33]Organ. J. Rare Vegetables for Garden and Table.
Unusual vegetables that can be grown outdoors in Britain. A good guide.
[46]Uphof. J. C. Th. Dictionary of Economic Plants.
An excellent and very comprehensive guide but it only gives very short descriptions of the uses without any details of how to utilize the plants. Not for the casual reader.
[58]Ohwi. G. Flora of Japan. (English translation)
The standard work. Brilliant, but not for the casual reader.
[61]Usher. G. A Dictionary of Plants Used by Man.
Forget the sexist title, this is one of the best books on the subject. Lists a very extensive range of useful plants from around the world with very brief details of the uses. Not for the casual reader.
[179]Reid. B. E. Famine Foods of the Chiu-Huang Pen-ts'ao.
A translation of an ancient Chinese book on edible wild foods. Fascinating.
[183]Facciola. S. Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants.
Excellent. Contains a very wide range of conventional and unconventional food plants (including tropical) and where they can be obtained (mainly N. American nurseries but also research institutes and a lot of other nurseries from around the world.
[200]Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
[206]Larkcom J. Oriental Vegetables
Well written and very informative.
[218]Duke. J. A. and Ayensu. E. S. Medicinal Plants of China
Details of over 1,200 medicinal plants of China and brief details of their uses. Often includes an analysis, or at least a list of constituents. Heavy going if you are not into the subject.
[266] Flora of China
On-line version of the Flora - an excellent resource giving basic info on habitat and some uses.

Readers comment                                         
 
Elizabeth H.
Steve Dupey Thu Dec 1 2005
Id rate the plant as somewhat frost tolerant rather than tender. Seems to need a longer growing season than I have.. yields are low but it grows easily. Invasive.. tubers are very cold tolerant. Small and fiddly yes but easy enough to clean. Id say the flavor is good but a bit too mild. Possibly production could be increased with better knowlege of fertization requirements.. perhaps I gave it too much nitrogen. Id like to experiment with some of the other wild Stachys and I wonder why some selection for tuber size doesnt seem to have occurred. Are their cultivars of this we are not aware of. French.. crosne, Japanese... chorogi ??
Elizabeth H.
Ken Fern, Plants for a Future. Mon Nov 6 2006
This is the normal growth patter of Stachys affinis, though plants usually grow taller - ours are usually 30 - 50cm tall. The reason plants seldom flower in Britain is because the summer is not normally hot enough to initiate flowering - I wonder if this will change if we continue to get hotter summers with global warming. Instead of flowering, the plants concentrate on root growth, send up lots of new growth from these roots and therefore producing a tight clump with lots of stems.
Elizabeth H.
Abayomi Mon Nov 6 2006
where can I get seeds?
Elizabeth H.
Ken Fern, Plants for a Future Wed Nov 22 2006
This plant is not normally propagated by seed. The usual method is to obtain the small tubers and plant these out in early spring. There are a number of nurseries that offer the tubers in Britain, visit the Plant Finder at http://www.rhs.org.uk/RHSPlantFinder/plantfinder.asp for details of these.
Elizabeth H.
Mon Nov 6 2006
This is the normal growth patter of Stachys affinis, though plants usually grow taller - ours are usually 30 - 50cm tall. The reason plants seldom flower in Britain is because the summer is not normally hot enough to initiate flowering - I wonder if this will change if we continue to get hotter summers with global warming. Instead of flowering, the plants concentrate on root growth, send up lots of new growth from these roots and therefore producing a tight clump with lots of stems.
Elizabeth H.
Lauren Leach-Steffens Fri Feb 29 2008
Oh, my gosh. I have been digging this out from around my mini-pond for YEARS. Invasive? You bet. Edible? I didn't know -- maybe this will give me something to do with this beastly plant.
Elizabeth H.
Eleanor Wed Apr 2 2008
Does anyone know of a Canadian nursery that ships stachys affinis? I can find only American and British ones, and am not sure that these tubers will be allowed past customs.
Elizabeth H.
Nigel Murison Sun Oct 12 2008
I grew these for the fist time this year and most if not all plants flowered,seeds seemed to be developing but didn't come to much in the end. As it seems to be found in wet places I will try growing these in watery places next year.
Elizabeth H.
Nigel Murison Sun Oct 12 2008
I forgot to add, that I grew these on the Rame Peninsula in East Cornwall.
Elizabeth H.
Kristin Kaspersen Wed Nov 5 2008
Grows like a weed in southern Norway. I received some tubers a couple of years ago, and this summer they flowered for the first time.
Elizabeth H.
Lise Fauteux Sun Feb 22 2009
You can buy some in Canada (Quebec) there

La société des plantes

Elizabeth H.
jon Thu Jan 21 2010

Jonathans mountain Cabin

Elizabeth H.
WAYNE BURDESHAW Fri Jan 22 2010
We have a plant that grows wild here in the state of Florida (U.S.A.)named STACHYS FLORIDANA.I have been eating the tubers/roots of this plant for many years ,BOTH RAW AND COOKED,and I have a patch that grows in my back yard about 10 feet square. In my opinion,Stachys AFFINIS and Stachys FLORIDANA are actually the EXACT SAME PLANT with 2 Latin names!Remember that both are considered to be "weeds" and keep them away from your other garden areas.Stachys Affinis,or CROSNES,or S.Floridana, sells by the pound for more than $40.00 in big cities with gourmet restaurants.
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