The Q&A Archives: Exotic Seed Availability

Question: I am looking to try planting a South American Andean tuber, called 'yacon'. It's scientific name is Smallanthus sonchifolius (formerly Polymnia s.). It is a grown as a type of garden vegetable, like a sweet potato. The Japanese have been growing a little of it I understand. I would like to get some seed, or possibly it can be propagated like potato, to try to garden it myself.

Answer: The Yacon root is a member of the Sunflower family and is grown for the edible roots which are sweet and low in calories. It grows in the warm, temperate zones of the Andean valleys. The roots contain inulin, a natural sugar substitute that is not metabolized by the human body, making it valuable to dieters and diabetics. It is currently being grown in Japan. For more information, contact International Agriculture Research via e-mail:

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