Several plant species feature swollen root structures that behave as nutrient storage reservoirs for your top growth. The nutrients are generally starches. Occasionally these origins are edible by animals and/or humans. Edible roots span numerous plant genera and species. Prior to consuming any plant root, then ensure that it’s been definitively identified, grown in non-contaminated dirt, washed thoroughly and cooked if needed.
Frequent potatoes and sweet potatoes are edible roots. The common potato (Solanum tuberosum) is an annual and a part of the nightshade family. More than 100 varieties are cultivated as food crops. Potatoes prefer well-drained, sandy soil and a sunny site. The unrelated sweet potato or sweet potato vine (Ipomoea batatas) is a perennial and a part of the morning glory family, hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 9 through 11 and grown as annuals outside that range. Roots of varieties grown for food have orange flesh. Ornamental varieties of sweet potato vine feature bronze-purple or chartreuse foliage.
Taro is the starchy underground root or stem of this elephant ear plant (Colocasia esculenta), hardy in USDA zones 9 through 12. It’s a staple food for people throughout the southern Pacific ranging from Hawaii through New Zealand. The plants have very big, heart- or even shield-shaped leaves that are also edible when young. Taro plant parts can be irritating if eaten or handled without being properly cooked first. Edible taro can also be related to cosmetic elephant’s ears (Alocasia), hardy in USDA zones 10 and 11.
Jerusalem artichoke (Helianthus tuberosus), hardy in USDA zones 4 through 8 or 9, is the root of a perennial member of the sunflower family. The plants thrive in bright locations in rich, well-drained soil. The tubers bruise easily and lose moisture readily, so it is ideal to harvest them close to the time when they’ll be used. They can be eaten cooked or raw, creating sweetness if picked after fall frosts. Jerusalem artichokes can be used in lots of the same ways as potatoes.
Traditionally root vegetables have been harvested in fall, stored for winter and used in stews and similar dishes. Yearly rutabagas (Brassica napus (Napobrassica group)) are a fantastic example. The 3- to 5-inch origins are around with yellow flesh. Above ground, the smooth, 12- to 24-inch-tall leaf, that is edible, is blue-green. Another closely associated edible root is that the annual turnip (Brassica rapa), which varies widely in size and colour. Grown for its foliage, or greens, and its origins, turnips are consumed for hundreds of years. In general, the larger the turnip, the more intense the flavor.