Long before Columbus set foot on our shores, the native Indians cultivated this species for its thick, tuberous roots, which they used for food. It is still frequently raised for similar purposes. The roots are tender and of fine flavour, and are eaten either raw, or cooked. They also make a popular relish when pickled. The tall, stout, leafy, hairy stalk grows perennially from six to twelve feet high, and branches at the top. The large, rather long-stemmed, triple-ribbed, pointed-oblong leaves have toothed margins and hairy surfaces. The upper ones are alternate, and the lower ones are paired. The brilliant flower heads are several or numerous, and are set in green, leafy, half-round cups, and are composed of numerous small, yellow, tubular disc flowers, fringed with from ten to twenty long, flaring, rich, yellow rays. Few or several flower heads are set on the tips of the terminal branches. This species prefers moist soil, and is found along fences, roadsides, and thickets during September and October, and ranges from Georgia and Arkansas to Canada.