Earth Apple, 'Yellow' (Smallanthus sonchifolius)
Keep your garden down to earth with Yellow Earth Apple, also known as Yácon. The earth apple plant blooms with clusters of yellow flowers, as a member of the familiar daisy and sunflower family of plants, Asteraceae. In native regions of South America, specifically the Andes mountains from Colombia to Northern Argentina, yácon boasts a history of use by indigenous civilizations that lived centuries ago. Just below the soil, a large root system of tubers branches from the yácon, which can be eaten to control cholesterol levels, carbohydrate consumption, and beneficial bacteria growth. It has a pleasant flavor, that has been described as sweet and floral, resembling a blend of watermelon, apple, and pear.
Plant yácon roots in the warmer months for an abundant crop that can be nearly double the yield of potatoes. Established yácon is tolerant of many soil types, but will flourish in a well-irrigated bed of soil high in organic matter and low in nitrogen. It prefers warm growing conditions where there are at least 7 months without a significant freeze. Yácon is becoming more popular as people become aware of its medicinal and nutritional value. As new gardeners unearth the plant powers of traditionally-grown vegetables like yácon, it is quickly becoming a popular choice for edible gardens!