Edible gardening is all the rage across the country. People are looking to grow some of their own food, but not wanting to sacrifice beauty. Here's an unusual, international edible plant that's coming into vogue because it produces tasty roots and mint-like foliage.
Crosne or Japanese artichoke (Stachys affinis) is a low-growing plant in the mint family. The plant grows 18 inches tall with small white or pink flowers. This perennial is hardy in USDA zone 5 to 9 and grows best in full sun. Like all mints, it will spread and makes a good groundcover. By fall, small, white, edible tubers form on the roots. Harvest the tubers and replant the roots and shoots. These tubers are crunchy and taste like water chestnuts. Crosne is highly priced in Japanese cooking and a favorite French delicacy.
Article published on April 23, 2009.