This hardy perennial from China and Japan belongs to the Labiate or Dead-nettle family, and is bo-tanically known as Stachys tuberifera. It has nothing to do with the Artichokes proper, but the taste of the whitish spindle-shaped tuberous roots (fig. 456) very much resembles that of the tubers of the Jerusalem Artichoke. These tuberous roots, constricted into roundish divisions, find their way in small quantities to markets like Covent Garden, but the trade in them is small at present, and will probably never develop to any great extent. The plants are easily grown in any ordinary good garden soil, and require no attention beyond keeping the weeds down with the hoe. The tuberous roots should be planted in February and March, about 1 ft. apart every way, and about 3 in. deep. In due course the square stems, bearing roughish, oval, dull-green leaves, appear, making branched bushy tufts 12 to 15 in. high. Creeping roots are thrown out in every direction beneath the surface of the soil, and on these numerous new tubers are developed in the course of the season, becoming ripe in October. They may be eaten raw, or roasted, boiled, or steamed, and served with melted butter or other fats.

Fig. 456   Chinese Artichoke (Stachys tuberifera).

Fig. 456 - Chinese Artichoke (Stachys tuberifera).