In his Notes on the State of Virginia, Jefferson listed the Jerusalem Artichoke as one of the "Esculent," or edible, plants of his beloved state. In 1809, he recorded planting them at Monticello, listing them using the French common name, "Topinambours." A tender perennial that is a native of the United States, the Jerusalem Artichoke is a member of the sunflower family. Growing 7 to 10 feet tall, it shows numerous, sunflower-like blooms. It has long been cultivated for its edible tuberous roots, which are often used as substitutes for potatoes and are marketed today under the name of "Sunchokes."
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