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Polymnia sonchifolia

Pronunciation: Po-lim-nee-uh son-chi-foh-lee-uh
Family: Asteraceae/compositae (aster/daisy family)
Common Name: Yacn
Plant Type:
  • perennial
Height to: 6'
USDA Hardiness Zones:
  • 10 to 0ºF ZONE 7
  • 20 to 10ºF ZONE 8
  • 30 to 20ºF ZONE 9
  • 40 to 30ºF ZONE 10
  • 50 to 40ºF ZONE 11
Sun Exposure:
  • part sun
  • full sun
Bloom Description: The stems are thick, hairy and streaked with purple. The leaves are opposite and broad, 8-14 in (20. 3-35. 6 cm) long with winged petioles. The dainty little flowerheads are about 1 in (2. 5 cm) across with yellow rays. They are not very showy and seem a little out of place amongst the huge leaves. Yacn produces spindle shaped storage tubers that can reach 1 ft (0. 3 m) in length and weigh up to 5 lbs (2,3 kg),
Propagation: Yacns in cultivation rarely set seeds. They are propagated from offshoots or "plantlets" removed from the base of the main stem just above the ground; or by dividing the rhizomatous underground stems; or by dividing the the storage tubers; or by rooting cut stems.
Notes for Identification: In frost free areas yacn tubers can be removed without disturbing the plant which will continue to produce more tubers. After flowering, the yacn plant dies back to the ground for a rest period during the dry season and the tubers are usually harvested then. In frosty climes, harvest the tubers after the plant dies to the ground by groping around with your hands under the plant; don't disturb the main roots and the plant will come back in spring and produce more tubers. Yacn tubers are incredibly sweet. The flesh is white and crispy, a little juicier than an apple, but every bit as sweet as the sweetest red delicious. Some say they taste like sweet water chestnuts; others compare the taste to an apple and watermelon combination. The tubers get even sweeter after curing in the sun, but they may not be as crisp. Yacn tubers are usually eaten raw, out of hand like a fruit. They are good sliced and added to green salads, or shredded with carrots and raisins for a sweet slaw. In peru yacn tubers are grated and squeezed through a sieve to make a sweet drink, and the juice is concentrated into blocks of candy called chancaca. Tubers are also boiled or baked and the stems and leaves are cooked and eaten as a vegetable. Yacn retains crunchiness during cooking and is just beginning to come into favor for asian stir-fried dishes. The leaves contain 11-17% dry weight protein and are useful as a livestock feed.  
Located in: Seed Photos
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