Time of bloom: August to September.
Seed-time: September to October.
Range: New Brunswick and Ontario to the Northwest Territory, southward to Georgia and Arkansas.
Habitat: Hummocks in swamps; meadows, fields, roadsides, and waste places.
Long before the white men came to America the Indians were rudely cultivating this native plant for its edible tubers, which are fleshy and sweet and afford very nourishing food for man and beast. And so persistent is it when once established that some of the aboriginal patches are said to be still productive. The plant will grow almost anywhere, but it thrives best and the tubers grow largest in moist and mellow soil. Stems stout, erect, rough-hairy, four to twelve feet tall and branching at the top. Leaves four to eight inches long, ovate, pointed, thick, firm, three-nerved, saw-toothed, rough on the upper side, finely hairy beneath, tapering abruptly to a hairy petiole; the lower ones opposite (sometimes in whorls of three), the upper ones alternate. Heads about three inches broad, with twelve to twenty bright yellow sterile rays. Disk-florets perfect and fertile, tubular, five-lobed, and lighter yellow than the rays. Involucre hemispheric, its spreading bracts lance-shaped, sharp-pointed, and hairy. Achenes wedge-shaped, four-sided, hairy on the angles, crowned with a pair of awl-shaped scales or awns which quickly fall away. (Fig. 326.)
Artichokes are very fattening, and a profitable way of clearing the ground of their presence is by turning in hogs to pasture - with untrammeled snouts - in the autumn, when the tubers are most crisp and succulent. Or the root-stocks may be starved by close and persistent cutting of the stalks in early summer, when their stored sustenance is most nearly depleted, allowing no new growth of leaves for replenishment. Dry salt on the shorn surfaces is an effective aid in checking new growth.