General Question

zeldaah's avatar

Help identify these roots I found in my garden?

Asked by zeldaah (26points) February 23rd, 2011

I was digging around and found a network of roots with peanut-like things attached to them. Instead of peanuts, these weird little pods have the consistency of water chestnuts if you snap them open. They cluster around the roots in groups. So odd, as there are no longer any plants associated with these things above ground—they’re at least two years old because I planted tomatoes in this area last year.

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7 Answers

gailcalled's avatar

Send us a photo, please.

zeldaah's avatar

I’m going to take a photo tomorrow when it’s light out. Can I upload it here? Or do I have to upload it somewhere else and link to it?

gailcalled's avatar

Upload to Flickr,TinyPic, etc. and link.

Check out the roots of Jerusalem artichokes. It is a tall plant with yellow, sunflower-like flowers and crunchy edible tubers attached to root system.

Edible part

Plant and flowers

lynfromnm's avatar

@gailcalled – that’s exactly what I was thinking. Jerusalem artichokes are incredibly hardy roots, and may actually be able to maintain underground if they still get some water.

I’ve used JAs to replace water chestnuts at times, in stir-fry dishes.

gailcalled's avatar

We eat them raw and sliced thin in salads. My sister picks them after the first frost.

Anemone's avatar

Be careful… there are other roots or rhizomes that are not edible which might look like that. They could even be poisonous. (I know no one here is saying they’re definitely jerusalem artichokes, but it’s a real danger, so I think it’s still worth pointing out!)

BTW, if you don’t get a convincing ID via the internet, maybe you could plant them in a pot and see what comes up? It’s really best to observe all parts of a plant when trying to identify them. You could also take them to a nursey or university extension office and see if you can find an in-person expert to look at them.

zeldaah's avatar

Good grief – after obsessively searching, I found it. Protoasparagus Densiflorus.

A reasonably nice weed, but there are so many tubers compared to any evidence of the former plant! Weird! But solved, I believe.

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