Family: ASTERACAEAE (Compositae)(Amaryllidaceae)
Genus & Species: Helianthus tuberosa
Heritage Status: New Zealand
Bio-Region of Origin: Te Anau : Westcoast
Description: These red skinned artichokes are very different to look at, when compared with the white skinned artichokes. These ones have far smoother shapes, less knobs on them and are very red skinned. Excellent winter crop that must be cooked to eat. These have come from an old collection in Te Anau of a healer Maire Tidy via Henry Harrington’s Collection. Do best in areas with cold winters.
To help you decide which varieties will be best for you.
This excerpt from the Koanga Garden Guide is filled with valuable information.
Planting Instructions: Prefer free draining, well composted or manured soil. Plant tubers direct into soil when ground temperature reaches 15 – 16ºC. We plant them at approximately 40cm spacings in 2 rows along a one metre wide bed. They are ready in winter when the tops die back and can left in the ground until they are going to be eaten as long as the ground is not too wet. In early spring dig up all that remain in the bed, prepare the bed and re-plant. Alternatively they can be dug up when tops die down and stored in damp sawdust and the bed re-planted in the spring. Require a cold climate so if you are in the north we recommend keeping them in a fridge for approximately 6 weeks prior to planting out.