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Stachys affinis - Bunge.

Common Name Chinese Artichoke, Artichoke betony
Family Lamiaceae or Labiatae
USDA hardiness 4-8
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Wet and submersed areas; 0-3200 m. Gansu, Hebei, Nei Mongol, Ningxia, Qinghai, Shaanxi, Shandong, Shanxi, Xinjiang[266]
Range E. Asia - China, Japan.
Edibility Rating    (4 of 5)
Other Uses    (0 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (1 of 5)
Care (info)
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Stachys affinis Chinese Artichoke, Artichoke betony

Stachys affinis Chinese Artichoke, Artichoke betony


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Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Stachys affinis is a PERENNIAL growing to 0.5 m (1ft 8in).
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 5 and is not frost tender. It is in leaf from May to November, in flower from July to August. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Insects.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


S. sieboldii. S. tuberifera.


 Cultivated Beds;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Leaves  Root
Edible Uses:

Tubers - raw or cooked[1, 2, 4, 16, 33]. Quite a pleasant mild flavour and easily digested[46], but fairly small and fiddly[K], they are about 5 - 8cm long and 2cm wide[200, 206]. A nutty artichoke-like flavour[183], it can be eaten raw on its own, be added to salads or be lightly cooked[K]. The tubers quickly discolour when exposed to the air[200] and are said to lose their flavour if they are peeled[183]. It is best to harvest them as required[206]. Yields are about 1kg per square metre[200]. Leaves - cooked. A famine food, they are only used when all else fails[179].

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

The dried and powdered root is anodyne[218]. The entire plant has been used in the treatment of colds and pneumonia[266].

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

None known

Special Uses

Food Forest

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Prefers a well-drained soil in a sunny position[16]. Thrives in an ordinary garden soil[1], preferring one that is not too heavy[16, 33]. It grows best in a soil that has been well fed and does not dry out in the growing season[16]. Plants seem to withstand even water-logged conditions in the winter[206]. The Chinese artichoke is occasionally cultivated for its edible tubers, they are planted out in March and harvested from October onwards[1, 58, 61]. Although top growth is killed back by frost, the tubers are very hardy and can be left in the ground over winter to be harvested as required[200]. It is virtually impossible to find all the tubers, there are always some left behind that will grow the following season[K]. Plants are very tolerant of high summer temperatures[206]. The tubers begin to sprout at temperatures above about 5°c[206]. Plants take 5 - 7 months to develop their tubers[206]. Plants rarely flower in Britain[1]. For polyculture design as well as the above-ground architecture (form - tree, shrub etc. and size shown above) information on the habit and root pattern is also useful and given here if available. The plant growth habit is a runner spreading indefinitely by rhizomes or stolons [1-2]. The root pattern is rhizomatous with underground stems sending roots and shoots along their length [1-2].

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

Temperature Converter

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Seed - sow spring in a cold frame. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle. If sufficient growth has been made, it is possible to plant them out during the summer, otherwise grow them on in pots for their first summer, leaving the tubers in the pots to overwinter in a cold frame and then plant out in late spring when in active growth. Seed is rarely if ever produced on plants growing in Britain. Division. The tubers can be harvest and replanted at any time whilst they are dormant. They do start into growth fairly early in the year so it is better to have moved them by the end of March[K].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Native Plant Search

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Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

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Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


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Readers comment

Steve Dupey   Thu Dec 1 2005

Id rate the plant as somewhat frost tolerant rather than tender. Seems to need a longer growing season than I have.. yields are low but it grows easily. Invasive.. tubers are very cold tolerant. Small and fiddly yes but easy enough to clean. Id say the flavor is good but a bit too mild. Possibly production could be increased with better knowlege of fertization requirements.. perhaps I gave it too much nitrogen. Id like to experiment with some of the other wild Stachys and I wonder why some selection for tuber size doesnt seem to have occurred. Are their cultivars of this we are not aware of. French.. crosne, Japanese... chorogi ??

Ken Fern, Plants for a Future.   Mon Nov 6 2006

This is the normal growth patter of Stachys affinis, though plants usually grow taller - ours are usually 30 - 50cm tall. The reason plants seldom flower in Britain is because the summer is not normally hot enough to initiate flowering - I wonder if this will change if we continue to get hotter summers with global warming. Instead of flowering, the plants concentrate on root growth, send up lots of new growth from these roots and therefore producing a tight clump with lots of stems.

Abayomi   Mon Nov 6 2006

where can I get seeds?

Ken Fern, Plants for a Future   Wed Nov 22 2006

This plant is not normally propagated by seed. The usual method is to obtain the small tubers and plant these out in early spring. There are a number of nurseries that offer the tubers in Britain, visit the Plant Finder at http://www.rhs.org.uk/RHSPlantFinder/plantfinder.asp for details of these.

   Mon Nov 6 2006

This is the normal growth patter of Stachys affinis, though plants usually grow taller - ours are usually 30 - 50cm tall. The reason plants seldom flower in Britain is because the summer is not normally hot enough to initiate flowering - I wonder if this will change if we continue to get hotter summers with global warming. Instead of flowering, the plants concentrate on root growth, send up lots of new growth from these roots and therefore producing a tight clump with lots of stems.

Lauren Leach-Steffens   Fri Feb 29 2008

Oh, my gosh. I have been digging this out from around my mini-pond for YEARS. Invasive? You bet. Edible? I didn't know -- maybe this will give me something to do with this beastly plant.

Eleanor   Wed Apr 2 2008

Does anyone know of a Canadian nursery that ships stachys affinis? I can find only American and British ones, and am not sure that these tubers will be allowed past customs.

Nigel Murison   Sun Oct 12 2008

I grew these for the fist time this year and most if not all plants flowered,seeds seemed to be developing but didn't come to much in the end. As it seems to be found in wet places I will try growing these in watery places next year.

Nigel Murison   Sun Oct 12 2008

I forgot to add, that I grew these on the Rame Peninsula in East Cornwall.

Kristin Kaspersen   Wed Nov 5 2008

Grows like a weed in southern Norway. I received some tubers a couple of years ago, and this summer they flowered for the first time.

Lise Fauteux   Sun Feb 22 2009

You can buy some in Canada (Quebec) there

La société des plantes

jon   Thu Jan 21 2010

Jonathans mountain Cabin

WAYNE BURDESHAW   Fri Jan 22 2010

We have a plant that grows wild here in the state of Florida (U.S.A.)named STACHYS FLORIDANA.I have been eating the tubers/roots of this plant for many years ,BOTH RAW AND COOKED,and I have a patch that grows in my back yard about 10 feet square. In my opinion,Stachys AFFINIS and Stachys FLORIDANA are actually the EXACT SAME PLANT with 2 Latin names!Remember that both are considered to be "weeds" and keep them away from your other garden areas.Stachys Affinis,or CROSNES,or S.Floridana, sells by the pound for more than $40.00 in big cities with gourmet restaurants.

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