Chinese Artichoke, Stachys affinis, also called mint root, knot root, and Crosne, is a root crop in the mint family. The tubers can be eaten fresh or cooked and have a nutty flavor and crunchy texture similar to water chestnut. They can be eaten raw like a carrot, tossed into salads, or cooked in soups, stir fried, sautéed, or steamed. In Chinese and Japanese cuisine the tubers are primarily pickled.
Chinese artichoke plants take five to seven months to develop tubers and are ready to harvest anytime during the fall or winter when the plant is dormant. You can leave the tubers in the ground for storage until you are ready to use them. The tops die back each year in the winter, but the tubers are quite hardy and new plants will form in the spring from the tubers. Use caution as this plant can become somewhat invasive and tough to get rid of.
This plant is originates central and northern China. Plant tubers 2 to 3” deep and about 9” apart. Don’t over-fertilize or you’ll get masses of leaves and very few tubers.
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