Chinese Artichoke

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

Chinese artichoke Stachys affinis, an oriental root vegetable which is related neither to the globe artichoke (see artichoke) nor to the jerusalem artichoke. Of these three confusingly named plants it was the last to arrive in Europe.

The plant reached France in 1882, when the doctor of the Russian Legation in Beijing sent it to M. Pailleux, a prominent acclimatiseur, and it began to appear as a market vegetable five years later. Pailleux saw to it that it was called Crosne du Japon, from Crosnes the village where he lived. The root achieved, and retains, some popularity in France (it was an ingredient in the so-called salade japonaise for which Dumas (1873) helped to create a vogue), but it is not much in evidence elsewhere in Europe or America.