Helianthus tuberosus 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Plantae Tracheophyta Magnoliopsida Asterales Asteraceae

Scientific Name: Helianthus tuberosus L.
Common Name(s):
English Jerusalem-artichoke
Helianthus tomentosus Michx.
Taxonomic Source(s): USDA, ARS, National Genetic Resources Program. 2013. Germplasm Resources Information Network ‒ (GRIN) [Online Database]. Available at:
Taxonomic Notes: Helianthus tuberosus L. belongs to the Taxon Group 1b of the cultivated Jerusalem Artichoke H. tuberosus. It also belongs to the tertiary Gene Pool of Sunflower H. annuus L.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2014-01-31
Assessor(s): Rhodes, L. & Maxted, N.
Reviewer(s): Fielder, H.
This species is globally assessed as Least Concern as it is a widespread species that is secure in the majority of its range across North America. It is thought to be present in a number of protected areas, but survey work should be carried out to confirm this, and ex situ collections of the species are stored in gene banks. Active population management and monitoring in protected areas would benefit this species, particularly in Saskatchewan, Canada to ensure the long-term survival of the species. It is also important to ensure that the range of genetic diversity within the species is fully represented in populations conserved in situ and accessions stored ex situ.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:The exact native range of Helianthus tuberosus is uncertain, however, NatureServe (2013) report it as native to Saskatchewan and Ontario in Canada and to many states of the United States of America, particularly in central and eastern regions. It is found at elevations between sea level and 1,000 m a.s.l. (Flora of North America Editorial Committee 2006). It is also widely naturalized and cultivated in temperate regions throughout the world, particularly in Europe (USDA, ARS, National Genetic Resources Program 2013).
Countries occurrence:
Canada (Manitoba, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Prince Edward I., Québec, Saskatchewan); United States (Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming)
Additional data:
Upper elevation limit (metres):1000
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:NatureServe (2013) records this species as secure globally and nationally (USA and Canada) and so it is suspected that its population trend is stable, however, it is recorded as imperilled in Saskatchewan, Canada.
Current Population Trend:Stable
Additional data:
Continuing decline of mature individuals:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations:NoPopulation severely fragmented:Unknown
Continuing decline in subpopulations:No
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations:UnknownAll individuals in one subpopulation:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:Wild populations of this species are most commonly found in disturbed habitat such as roadsides, in old fields and meadows, moist river and stream banks, and waste areas (Gleason and Cronquist 1963, Alex and Switzer 1976, Kays and Nottingham 2007).
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Unknown

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: Helianthus tuberosum is widely cultivated for its tuberous root that is used as human food and drink and animal fodder and forage; it is also used to produce alcohol in the French Cognac industry, ithas potential as a petroleum substitute, and the tubers contain 8% inulin – a polysaccharide that may be of use to diabetics (NatureServe 2013, USDA, ARS, National Genetic Resources Program 2013). 

Wild H. tuberosum belong to Taxon Group 1b of the cultivated H. tuberosum and the tertiary Gene Pool of cultivated Sunflower H. annuus and so has potential for use as a gene donor for crop improvement (Schilling and Heiser 1981, USDA, ARS, National Genetic Resources Program 2013).

In addition, the genus Helianthus attracts large numbers of native bees and so is listed in the Pollinator programme at The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation (Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center 2013).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The threats to this species remain unknown.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Thirty-five accessions are held at the National Plant Germplasm System (NPGS, in the USA), all of which are of wild origin and backed up at a second site (USDA, ARS, National Genetic Resources Program 2013).

In terms of in situ conservation, this species is associated with 27 protected areas and so is presumed to be subject to passive protected in these areas (Information Center for the Environment (ICE 2013), though no evidence of active conservation could be found.

Citation: Rhodes, L. & Maxted, N. 2016. Helianthus tuberosus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T20694364A20695376. . Downloaded on 22 July 2018.
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