yampah roots. I've been debating for several months as to whether I should reveal them in all their maddeningly minute glory. That time has now arrived.
Although yampah roots are spoken of very highly as a wild food, this rate of growth really doesn't bode well for their general productivity as a garden crop. Let's just say the potato can lie in its bed a little longer without fear of being usurped.
As so often follows failure, a period of doubt and self-recrimination ensued. Was it the compost, the temperature, transplanting shock? Insect damage perhaps? Something or someone was to blame. Maybe I'm an even less competent horticulturist than I ever realised. I have had them stashed in some vermiculite, hidden from view, while pondering on all of this.
Then last night, I was idly perusing a document from the USDA Forest Service on a related yampah species, Perideridia erythrorhiza, when I came across this quote:
Work in the greenhouse indicates that juveniles will senesce 8-12 weeks after emerging, even if kept well watered, and will not flower the first year. During this early period of growth, a single small tuber 1cm or less is developed, which then remains dormant until the following spring.
That's it. That's exactly what happened.
So roast yampah roots won't be on the table this Christmas, but I might get another stab at growing this queen of North American wild foods. And it's really not my fault.