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Hitchhiker Weeds: Is This The Jerusalem Artichoke?

Helianthus tuberosus

There are numerous showy flowers that bloom in the late Summer/early Fall and I’ve tried to make an identification of this one. I think this is Helianthus tuberosus.

The flowers are quite charming actually, however, this is considered a very troublesome perennial weed and is prolific in forest edges, pastures, roadsides, etc. This weed tends to prefer full sun. It is tall and grows up to 12 feet in height.

The flower resembles a daisy and also looks something like a wild sunflower.

“Despite its name, the Jerusalem artichoke has no relation to Jerusalem, and it is not a type of artichoke, though both are members of the daisy family.”

The Jerusalem artichoke is native to North America and grows in most of the country. It also grows in most of Canada.

The potential for making ethanol from this ordinary weed is promising. The ‘Sunchoke’ may be a better producer of ethanol than corn.

If my memory serves me well, the flowers fade and a bunch of black seeds (with stickers) are available to catch a ride on the unsuspecting pedestrian. These stickers are troublesome to deal with.

Other hitchhikers that are painful to deal with are Hackelia virginiana (Beggar’s Lice) and Xanthium strumarium (Cockleburs). Anyone that has picked up the beggar’s lice on the pants will immediately know what it is.

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