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Alternative Root Crops.

Although this leaflet is titled Alternative Root Crops, I am not going to stick strictly to the botanists definition of a root, but am instead being much more lax and will be discussing all types of underground storage organs including tubers, bulbs and corms.

The traditional root crops grown in Britain are potatoes, parsnips, carrots, beetroot, onions, turnips and swede with lesser known plants such as Jerusalem artichokes, celeriac, Chinese artichokes, radishes and winter radishes (mooli) playing a minor role. Of these, potatoes are by far the most important. They are very high yielding and, because they have a mild flavour that goes well with many other foods, they are widely used as a staple crop. They do have many disadvantages though, especially in their high susceptability to disease and in particular to blight (for which there is no acceptable organic treatment as yet).

Most of these traditional crops have been selectively bred, sometimes over thousands of years, for improved flavour and yields. Potatoes, for example, were extremely low-yielding when first introduced from S. America. The wild carrot has a thin woody root that bears little comparison to the cultivated plant. This selective breeding, however, has not been an unconditional success. Potatoes must be one of our most disease-prone crops - you only have to look at them and they go down with blight. Carrots suffer from root fly and violet root rot, assuming you can get them past the seedling stage without them being eaten by slugs or overtaken by weeds.

Many of the plants mentioned in this leaflet, on the other hand, have never been bred as a food crop so yields will often be rather lower. They are, however, usually much less prone to pests and diseases and so are often easier to grow. They are also in general much more robust plants and can often be grown in a semi-wild setting and just harvested as required. There is an added bonus to this, since with many of the plants, such as Erythronium species, it is possible to grow them amongst other plants and so their yield is an extra bonus from the land. For more information on this method of growing please see our leaflet Why Perennials.

The plants detailed in the list below are rather a diverse bunch and as a result they have a variety of cultivation needs. Unless the text says otherwise you can assume that the plant will succeed in full sun or light shade in most well- drained soils and will yield much better if the soil is fairly rich in organic matter. Unlike most of the information leaflets we issue, there are some species in this list that we have not as yet grown but wish to obtain. This is clearly marked in the text - if by any chance you are growing any of these plants then we certainly won't object if you send a root or three in our direction.

Apios americana. The GROUND NUT is a herbaceous climbing plant, reaching about 4ft tall. It belongs to the pea and bean family and, like many other members of that family, it helps to enrich the soil with nitrogen by means of bacteria which live on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. The root, which is unusually high in protein, has a very pleasant sweet taste when baked and is one of our favourite roots. It can be cooked in many other ways and can also be eaten raw, though it is rather a tough chew. Yields from the wild plant are fairly low, though they are much better if the plant is left in the ground for 2 years before harvesting, There are a number of cultivated forms being developed, however, that have much higher yields and the plant has been recommended for commercial cultivation. This species can be grown along the sunny edges of a woodland garden and either allowed to twine its way into small shrubs or given some supports to climb into. One correspondant says that this plant has some "anti nutritional factors, such as trypsin inhibitors ... so it should be cooked before being eaten"

Camassia quamash. QUAMASH is a beautiful bulbous plant that grows about 2ft tall and flowers in early summer. It belongs to the onion family (though it does not taste like it) and the flowers look a little bit like a bluebell. Plants can succeed in short grass, so long as this is not to vigorous, and can therefore be grown in the light shade of a tree in the lawn. Do not cut the grass during the time when the bulbs come into growth until they die down in mid summer. Quamash bulbs are about the size of a small onion, they are rich in starch and develop a very nice sweet flavour when slowly baked. They can also be eaten raw but their texture is not then to my liking, being somewhat gummy. Quamash was a staple food of the N. American Indians. Local tribes would move to the quamash fields in the early autumn and, whilst some people harvested the bulbs, others would dig a pit, line it with boulders then fill it with wood and set fire to it. The fire would heat the boulders and the harvested bulbs would then be placed in the pit and the whole thing covered with earth and the bulbs left to cook slowly for 2 days. The pit would then be opened and the Indians would feast on the bulbs until they could no longer fit any more in their stomachs. Whatever was left would be dried and stored for winter use. We are intending to experiment with growing quamash in an orchard - the plants will have died down before the first apples are harvested and so will not get in the way. The bulbs should increase of their own accord and then we can harvest them in much the same way as the Indians, though we might not eat them in quite the same way!

Cyperus esculentus. TIGER NUTS are a noxious weed in the tropics, but are also a cultivated crop and can sometimes be found on sale in Britain. Plants grow about 2ft tall and prefer a sunny position in a soil that is on the wet side. Plants that I have grown have seemed to be quite hardy (forms of the plant have become naturalised as far north as Alaska) but yields have been disappointing so far. This is at least partly because I have been having problems getting the tubers to come into new growth in the spring. I normally harvest them after the first frosts have cut back top growth and then store them in moist sand in a cool frost-free place. In late March I pot them up and put them into a polytunnel, but they can take months before coming into growth and consequently do not manage to get in a full growing season. I am probably making some elementary mistake with the plant. but have yet to work out what it is. The tubers are small and rather fiddly but they have a delicious sweet flavour. They can be eaten raw but are very chewy unless soaked beforehand. Tiger nuts are unusual amongst roots in that they contain a relatively high level of oil and this is sometimes extracted and used as a high-grade food oil.

Dioscorea batatas. This hardy YAM is cultivated in Japan as a root crop but, although it grows very well here, it has never been grown much in this country. A climbing plant reaching 8ft or more in height, it requires a sunny position in a fertile well-drained soil and should be given some support on which to twine. If you have a deep rich soil then the root can be up to 3ft long and weigh 4lbs or more. Rich in starch, it is best baked but can also be boiled, added to stews etc. There is no strong flavour, but the overall taste is very acceptable and it can be eaten in quantity as a staple crop. It reminds me of a floury potato. You can propagate the plant by cutting off the top few inches of root and replanting this. An easier method is to harvest the small tubercles (baby tubers that look a little like small bulbs) that are formed in the leaf axils along the stems. Collect them in late summer, once they are easily detached from the plant, and pot them up immediately in a cold greenhouse. They will remain dormant in the winter and then come into growth in the spring. Plant them out in the summer when they are in active growth.

Erythronium species. DOG'S TOOTH VIOLETS are dainty woodland bulbs. They grow about 1ft tall and flower in early spring, disappearing completely by early summer. Grow them in light shade and consider also growing them under trees in the orchard or on a lawn. Suitable varieties increase very freely when well sited and the bulb, which can be 3 inches long and about an inch wide, has a pleasant sweet taste. It can be eaten raw or cooked. Any of the species can be used, though these are quite expensive to obtain and many people would consider the plant too beautiful to eat. The cultivars White Beauty and Pagoda are easily grown forms that are relatively cheap to buy and usually divide freely in the garden.

Helianthus tuberosus. JERUSALEM ARTICHOKES are a fairly well-known root crop that is occasionally cultivated. The plants are very vigorous, growing up to 10ft tall, and some people have been growing them successfully as part of a woodland garden, planting them on the sunnier side of the woodland. Slugs absolutely adore the young shoots in spring, so give the plants some protection at this time of the year. We find that a mulch of oak leafmould works well. The main drawback of this root is that over half of the carbohydrate it contains is in the form of inulin and this cannot be absorbed by the body. It does mean that you can eat quite a lot of it without putting on weight, but it does also mean that many people will find the inulin fermenting in their gut causing quite a bit of wind! The tubers can be eaten raw or cooked and the flavour improves if they are left in the ground until frosted.

Lathyrus tuberosus. The TUBEROUS PEA has one of the nicest tubers I have ever eaten, a view shared by many of the people who have eaten it. Unfortunately the plant is rather low yielding and so unless improved cultivars are developed it will never become more than an occasional delicacy. Grow the plant on the sunny side of a woodland, or perhaps in a cultivated bed amongst shrubs. It grows about 3ft tall and twines around available supports. It is quite a weak climber, however, and is more likely to sprawl across the ground. A member of the pea and bean family, the plant will enrich the soil with nitrogen.

Lilium lancifolium. The TIGER LILY is often grown in the flower garden but in the Orient it is cultivated for its edible bulb. In fact when grown as a root crop the Chinese actually pick off the flower buds to stimulate the production of larger bulbs. All other members of this genus also produce edible bulbs, though these can often have a bitter flavour. When baked, lily bulbs taste rather like potatoes. One word of warning with this particular species - although tolerant of virus disease, it can often act as a carrier of these diseases and so becomes a vector infecting other species. It is therefore wise to either grow this species well away from your other lilies, or to avoid growing the other species if you grow this one. The plant is easily propagated by means of bulbils that form in the leaf axils. Simply pot these up in the summer when they part easily from the plant and then plant them out in the spring 18 months later. Allow some of the bulbils to fall to the ground to see of the plant will maintain itself without your help.

Lomatium cous. This is a plant that I have not as yet grown but would like to obtain, It comes from western N. America and grows on dry often open rocky slopes and flats. It is often found with sagebrush, is most common in foothills and lowland areas but is occasionally found above the treeline. The root is eaten cooked, it can also be dried and ground into a flour and can then be mixed with cereal flours or added to soups etc. When dug up in the spring, it is said to have a parsnip-like flavour. I would also be interested in obtaining any other members of this genus, in particular L. geyeri and L. macrocarpum. Known as BISCUIT ROOTS, they have celery-flavoured roots that can be eaten raw or cooked. The N. American Indians dried and ground them into a flour and then either mixed it with cereal flours or added it to soups etc. They also mixed the flour with water, flattened it into cakes then sun-dried or baked them for use on journeys, the taste is said to be somewhat like stale biscuits.

Orogenia linearifolia. INDIAN POTATO is another plant that I would like to obtain. It grows about 15cm tall on open mountain sides and ridges, often in sandy or gravelly soils, and especially near vernal snowbanks where it blooms as soon as the snow melts. It is found in much of western N. America. The root is said to have a pleasant crisp taste, though the outer skin has a slightly bitter taste. Available at almost any time of the year, its only drawback is that it is a bit small and fiddly to harvest in quantity.

Oxalis tuberosa. OCA has had a long history of cultivation in S. America where it is one of the three most popular root crops. The tuber can be 3 inches long and about an inch wide - yields per plant are often not much below that from potatoes. The plants are about as hardy as potatoes, tolerating light frosts but dying down in harder frosts. In mild areas the tubers can be left in the ground and harvested as required (so long as the ground does not get too wet in the winter), but in colder areas it is best to harvest them when the plant dies down and store them in a cool frost-free place. The tubers have a lemon flavour when first harvested but if you leave them out in the sun for a week or so they become quite sweet. Some cultivars, in fact, become so sweet that they are eaten rather like a fruit in S. America. The main disadvantage of this plant is that it does not start to form tubers until around the autumn equinox and so, if there is an early heavy frost, yields will be very low.

Perideridia gairdneri. YAMPA is a plant that I have not as yet grown but would dearly love to get my hands on. The root can be eaten raw or cooked and is said to have a pleasant sweet and nutty taste that can be eaten in quantity. The flavour is said to be somewhat like a superior parsnip and the dried root is said to be so nice that it is an almost irresistable nibble. The root is best harvested when the plant is dormant and can also be dried for later use or ground into a flour and used in porridges, cakes etc. Yampa grows in woodland and wet meadows in its native range, which stretches from California along the west of N. America to Saskatchewan in Canada and so it should be perfectly hardy here.

Polymnia edulis. YACON is often cultivated for its edible root in S. America, where yields of 15 tons per acre have been achieved. This frost-tender plant grows about 3ft tall and can be cultivated like potatoes, it requires a 6 - 7 month growing season so would probably not succeed in the colder parts of the country. It is best started off in pots even in the warmer areas. A fast-growing and tolerant plant, it succeeds in poor soils though it yields better in soils of at least reasonable quality and requires a sunny position. The large root is crisp and juicy and in some cultivars is also incredibly sweet, though the skin is often bitter. In S. America it is eaten more like a fruit than a root. The nutritional value is low, however, because much of the carbohydrate in the root is in the form of inulin. The human gut is unable to assimilate inulin and so it passes straight through the digestive system. This makes it an ideal food if you are on a diet to lose weight and want to eat enough to fill yourself up! A gentle warning, however. Inulin causes fermentation in the gut of some people, leading to the expulsion of gases through the rear passage (I'm trying to be delicate here!) Inulin can be easily converted to fructose, a sugar that is safe for diabetics to use, and so it is sometimes used to make a sweetener.

Psoralea esculenta. BREADROOT is a famous N. American Indian food, though we have yet to grow it. Perfectly hardy in this country, it requires a sunny position and like many members of the pea and bean family it helps to enrich the soil with nitrogen. The root can be eaten raw, cooked or be dried for later use. The dried root can also be ground into a flour and used in cakes, porridges etc. Starchy and glutinous, the raw root is said to have a sweetish turnip-like taste. The plant has in the past been recommended for commercial cultivation and has the potential to be high yielding.

Sagittaria species. Most if not all members of this genus produce edible tubers and a number of them are cultivated for this, especially in the Orient. They succeed in wet soils but are best in water 1 - 2ft deep. S. sagittifolia, the ARROWHEAD, is a native species and this is the plant that is most frequently cultivated. Its tubers can often be purchased in Chinese shops in this country and this is one of the best ways of obtaining plants, though the tubers need to be fresh if they are to grow away before rotting. The tubers are starchy with a distinct flavour that people have likened to potatoes, though I'm not sure that I agree. There is a slight bitterness, but this is mainly in the skin which is best removed after cooking. They make a very acceptable stodge part of the meal. The tubers can also be dried and ground into a flour, this flour can then be used as a gruel etc or can be added to cereal flours and used in making bread, biscuits or cakes. The tubers, which can be produced up to 1 metre from the plant, are best harvested in the late summer as the leaves die down, they should not be eaten raw. Other species to try include:- S. cuneata, the WAPATO, S. graminea; and S. latifolia, the DUCK POTATO.

Sium sisarum. SKIRRET grows about 4ft tall and used to be cultivated for its edible root. This can be eaten raw or cooked and is firm, sweet and floury but with a woody core. The plant is very pest and disease-resistant. It requires plenty of moisture in the growing season otherwise its root will tend to be very fibrous. Make sure that you do not grow the sub-species S. sisarum lancifolium since this is very unlikely to produce good quality roots.

Stachys affinis. CHINESE ARTICHOKES grow about 1ft tall and dislike dry soils or shade. Their roots are rather small and fiddly, though overall yields are quite good and they have a pleasant flavour with a nice crisp juicy texture. They can be eaten raw or cooked, I prefer them chopped up and added to a mixed salad. Incidently, there is an easy way of cleaning small and fiddly roots. You half fill a bucket with water, add a good quantity of dirt so that you have a nice muddy mixture. You then add all the roots that you want to wash and stir the mixture for a few minutes. Then tip out the roots and rinse them - they will be lovely and clean, ready for use.

Tropaeolum tuberosum. This beautiful climbing plant is only hardy in the milder areas of the country, where it can reach a height of 6 ft or more. It flowers freely in late summer and then dies down with the first hard frosts in the autumn. It produces a number of edible tubers near the soil surface and can be quite heavy-yielding. In mild winter areas the tubers can be left in the ground (though it would be a good idea to mulch them), in colder areas they should be harvested and stored in much the same way as dahlias. The tubers are quite popular in S. America, but they are probably best described as an acquired taste. The rather peppery flavour is improved considerably if the tubers are cooked and then frozen before eating them. (You can warm them up again if you like!) We have also found that if the tubers are left in the ground and then harvested after being frosted the flavour is much nicer. The tuber is considered by people in the Andes to lower the sex-drive and many men refuse to eat it, whilst recommending it for women! Clinical trials have indicated a reduction of up to 45% in some male hormones when the tuber forms a considerable part of the diet, but no loss in fertility has been observed. The growing plant is very resistant to diseases and insects, it contains nematocidal, bactericidal and insecticidal compounds. The main problem with growing this plant in Britain is that the tubers are not formed until the shorter days of autumn and if you get an early frost then yields can be very low. The cultivar Ken Aslett is probably the best form available in this country, it comes into flower earlier and produces larger tubers than the species type.

Typha latifolia. Our native REEDMACE is potentially one of the most productive rootcrops that can be grown. Not only that, its native habitat is marshy ground and shallow water where it makes a superb wild-life habitat. Thus instead of destroying valuable habitats by draining our wetlands in order to grow more wheat that is then used to build the huge grain mountains in Europe, we could be growing this plant with a lot less work and getting higher yields into the bargain. The root can be eaten raw or cooked. It can be boiled and eaten like potatoes or macerated and boiled to yield a sweet syrup. The root can also be dried, ground into a flour and then used as a thickener in soups etc or added to cereal flours. Rich in protein, this flour is used to make biscuits etc. Yields of 3 tonnes of flour per acre are possible, which compares very favourably with wheat. The plant also has many other edible and non-edible uses which I will not enumerate here - ask us for a fact-sheet on these species if you would like more details. T. angustifolia is a closely related native plant with the same uses.

Database

The database has more details on these plants: Apios americana, Camassia quamash, Cyperus esculentus, Dioscorea batatas, Helianthus tuberosus, Lathyrus tuberosus, Lilium lancifolium, Lomatium cous, Orogenia linearifolia, Oxalis tuberosa, Perideridia gairdneri, Polymnia edulis, Psoralea esculenta, Sagittaria cuneata, Sagittaria graminea, Sagittaria latifolia, Sagittaria sagittifolia, Sium sisarum, Stachys affinis, Tropaeolum tuberosum, Typha angustifolia, Typha latifolia.

Readers Comments

Plants for a Future does not verify the accuracy of reader comments, use at your own risk. In particular Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. You should always consult a professional before using plants medicinally.

Alternative Root Crops.

Lori Mon Jan 24 17:49:33 2000

Do you know of any really good future foods websites??? I need to know them right now! I am doing research on them. Thanks

Alternative Root Crops.

Nathan Phillips Wed Jun 27 22:55:02 2001

I am currently doing research with Yampah (Perideridia gairdneri), and Indian Potato. I would love to talk about these plants with anyone interested. email me at slrr1@cc.usu.edu

Alternative Root Crops.

Mon Jul 23 02:05:33 2001

Do you sell tubers of apios americana (american groundnuts)? I am interested in this wild plant. Please contact me at Ivycyy@eden.rutgers.edu Thank you.

American groundnuts (apios americana)

ivy Mon Jul 23 02:41:52 2001

I am interested in a herb named American groundnuts (apios americana). It also called wild patato or wild bean. The tubers of this plant has a very delicious taste. Do you have tubers of this plant for sale. Please contact me at tuantuanchu@usa.net. Thank you!

Alternative Root Crops.

Steve Bell Tue Aug 28 17:58:51 2001

I'm doing research on tropical root crops. Please send me interesting links. Including but not limited to, Colacasias, Alocasias,Manihot.

Alternative Root Crops.

Tue Nov 20 15:25:42 2001

You can order apios from Future Foods, www.futurefoods.com. This is a marvellous little company, I have bought from them for years. their catalogs are a little work of art, in my opinion. the apios is the nicest tasting of the various alternative roots I grow (yacon, mashua, oca, Jer. arti) and I can't wait till I have more of them next year. Love, success, Annemieke Wigmore amjwigmore@yahoo.com

Alternative Root Crops.

Sue Mon Feb 11 00:35:19 2002

Has anyone tried to cultivate oca, mashua or yacon in a hot climate? I live on the coast of S. Carolina, USA, where it is often 90-98F (32C) or above during the day, and 75F (24C) at night. Will oca, mashua or yacon grow here? Thanks in advance for your comments.

Alternative Root Crops.

Ivan Viehoff Wed May 15 09:31:13 2002

Do you know what this vegetable is? In southern Bolivia around May/June time I regularly purchased a large root vegetable the locals called AKHIPA or similar. Because of its sweetness, it is classified a fruit, and eaten raw. The root is gently pointed, varying from as long as a fat parsnip to almost ball-shaped, often with some vertical indentations, typically around 150g to 400g in weight. The flesh is radish-white, shot with purple fibres, and bleeds a white starchy liquid when cut. The skin is grey and easily pulled off by hand. I found it sweet, tasty, and it helped settle a dodgy stomach. It had all been harvested when I was there, so I did not see the plant. The only field I identified was at about 3500m. There was plenty of it in Potosi, Uyuni and Tupiza. I found it with difficulty in Oruro. Stallholders claimed it is sometimes delivered to La Paz, but is not grown locally. They had never heard of it in Sucre or Cochabamba. Do you know what this is? Is it confined to Southern Bolivia, or is it found elsewhere, perhaps under a different name?

Alternative Root Crops.

Ioane Malaki Fri Jun 21 22:11:58 2002

Colocasia, Alocasia and Manihot are important staples in the South Pacific region as potato and rice are important in other regions of the world. Add Dioscorea to that list. Colocasia, Alocasia and Dioscorea are of particular importance in Samoa, Fiji, Tonga, Vanuatu, Solomon Is, Cook Is and Niue. Manihot is not a staple in Samoa, Cook Is and Niue.

Link: www.usp.ac.fj University of the South Pacific

Brenner's Experience on Growing Yacons

Brenner Wed Oct 23 17:56:13 2002

This article originally appeared in the Jan 1998 edition of the Friends of PFAF newsletter.

What can I say about this plant? I grew some last year in tubs in the garden (because of an impending move) and I was constantly asked if they were Triffids!

The Yacon, I believe, comes from South America. It is a tuberous plant topped by enormous leaves (in fact, although the leaves have a different shape the span is similar to rhubarb), the stems etc. are quite hairy. The tubers, when harvested, weighed in at 14lbs (6.3 kilos) and that from just 3 plants. Had I been able to grow them in the ground then I am sure that the yields would have been even higher! The overall yields were very good, better than I have ever done with potatoes. I did make sure the plants were kept well watered and once a week gave them a liquid feed of either comfrey or diluted urine.

The top growth was cut down by the first heavy frosts of the autumn, and this would have been the best time to harvest the tubers. However, at this time I was busy moving home and so the plants were left in the tubs until January. Most of the tubers were a very good size and in good condition. They have stored well and I am still eating them now (late March). In fact, I felt that they kept better by being left in the pots and certainly the small top tubers (the ones that are used to grow the following year’s plants) were already sprouting when the plants were dug up. In the previous year all my top tubers had rotted away whilst in store.

I am planting these small tubers in pots at the moment and have managed to get 10 - 12 plants from each plant I grew last year.

Yacons are delicious to eat either raw or cooked. They are crisp and juicy with a lovely sweetness, in fact they are much more like a fruit than a root crop. I like to peel them thinly (this peel is rather aromatic and I am not too keen on it) and then cut them into thin slices and add them to salads just before serving. The tubers tend to pick up the flavours of foods they are cooked with and I find their crunchy texture goes very well in a stir fry. They go well with avocado pears and a squeeze of lemon and I like adding them to a tomato and basil salad where they add a nice crunch.

I could go on about ways to eat it, but you must suit yourselves. I’m told that you can boil and bake them, though I have never tried them this way. Stir-frying with ginger, garlic, onions and mushrooms, plus some mustard and stock with a nut crumble topping is gorgeous.

I must stop now or I’ll get totally carried away and there won’t be room for anything else in this newsletter. Next time I write it will be a diary on my almost virgin garden and my plans, along with a recipe using PFAF perennial plants. Until next time.

Brenner

Alternative Root Crops.

bobkemp Tue May 13 09:25:33 2003

Do you know where I can buy Typha Latifolia (or any of the larger Bullrush's) rhyzomes?

Alternative Root Crops.

reymark Mon Jan 12 06:41:52 2004

ako po si reymark gaspar na nakatira sa maynila ang aking komento ay maganda dahil nakakatulong ito upang madaling makuha ng mga bata ang karunungang kanilang hinahanap

Link: www.scs.leeds.ac.uk/pfaf/altroots.html

Alternative Root Crops

culpeper Tue May 31 2005

Some of the following could be added to the list, Scorzonera hispanica (Black Scorzonera), trogopogon porrifolius(Salsify or Oyster),Campanula rapunculus( Rampion),Convolvulus batata (Sweet Potatoe),Petroselinum sativum ( then root form of parsley known as Hamburg Parsley, Lappa edulis, (Gobo or Burdock), some hundreds of tons of this fine plant are sold in Japan weekly.Brassica caulo-rapa ( the many forms rooted cabbage, Kohl-Rabi being a well known form and the giant family of Beta vulgaris(Beets and mangolds)and to add a few to the original list in particular the Inca species,Pachyrhizus ahipa( Ahipa),Arracacia xanthorrhiza( Arrancha), Lepidium meyenii(Maca), Mirrabilis expansa(Mauka), Ullucus tuberosus(Ulluco or melloco),polymnia sonchifolia(Yacon)nd Trapa natans (Water chestnuts)and from the East Stachys affinis( chines artichoke or Knot Root,being the esteemed japanese Choro-gi), Raphanus sativus) here mean the Sino (daikon and Lu-chou)(lu-Chew)reported to have been grown to 3ft long and a foot thick and so it is said ,'quite tender'.oh,another comes to mind Sium sisarum(Skirrit) Emp. Tiberius demanded this plant as tribute from the Germans then living on the Rhine.The roots of Day Lillies are also treat together with the seed pods.Thats quite enough hot air from me on this matter.Regards Culpeper.

Alternative Root Crops

jo ferrier Sat Jun 18 2005

Do you know if Madeira vine roots are edible. It's a major weed in SE Queensland in Australia and it would be great if it were edible or could be used to feed livestock? Thands Jo Ferrier

Alternative Root Crops

Sam George Sat Jan 7 2006

i am doing a project on cyperus esculentus.please i need firm info on it classification,general chemical composition to compare with mine,cultivation,climatic requirement,uses,and any other information of use.i am having quite a problem locating useful info here in Nigeria.i am doing an undergraduate project for my first degree.please send with many referrences as this is also of great importance.thank you for your help.

Alternative Root Crops

Donny Lassiter Fri Feb 10 2006

Sam, I grow it here in the USA, mostly for wildlife habitat uses. However, alot of the info I used came out of a college in Valencia Spain. Hope that helps!

Cyprus Knee Chufa chufa(cyperus esculentus)

Alternative Root Crops

Palustris Catz Mon May 1 2006

Wondered if Tropaeolum ciliatum tubers were edible, if T. tuberosum are.

Alternative Root Crops

stephen coleman Mon Nov 27 2006

I'm searching for yampa, biscuit root and Indian potato seed to work on breeding. gloriacoleman953612000@yahoo.com

Alternative Root Crops

durley aguilear Mon Jun 11 2007

I would like to buy some Arracacia xanthorrhiza , could you please let me know how do I get this delicious root I had in south america? Many thanks Durley

Alternative Root Crops

Richard Torrens Tue Mar 10 2009

Food for free Wild food, including photos.

Alternative Root Crops

eddie s Tue Dec 15 2009

How about Sweet Potatoes.. I just harvested my first ever crop in a raised bed garden after a move to the South and am really happy with the results. Do you think if I planted the small tubers out in the natural forest that they would propagate on their own??

Alternative Root Crops

Lawrence T. Beckerle Fri Mar 19 2010

The comments on inulin under Jerusalem Artichoke are inaccurate. I believe it is digested in the large intestine. Because of how it is processed, inulin is reportedly very desirable for diabetics. It is easy to do an internet search on inulin. Please update your comments on inulin. Lawrence T. Beckerle

Alternative Root Crops

Ekko12 Tue Jun 8 2010

eddie: be careful not to introduce an invasive species! they could do too well.

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