Chinese Artichoke (Stachys affinis)

Perennial
S. sieboldii. S. tuberifera.
Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
Chinese Artichoke
Stachys affinis
Labiatae

None known

  • Medicinal Use

    The dried and powdered root is anodyne[218].

    The entire plant has been used in the treatment of colds and pneumonia[266].

  • Edible Use

    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].

  • Cautionary Notes

    None known

Cultivation & Habitat

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].
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].
E. Asia – China, Japan.

Become ungovernable, break the chains of the matrix; grow and forage your own food and medicine.

*None of the information on this website qualifies as professional medical advice. Take only what resonates with your heart and use your own personal responsibility for what’s best for you. For more information [brackets] [000], see bibliography.