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© Peter Scheu
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Helianthus tuberosus - Jerusalem artichoke

Synonym: H. tuberosus x h. strumosus
French name:  Topinambour
Dutch name: Aardpeer
Family: Asteraceae
Group: Vascular plants
Origin: North America
Habitat: terrestrial
Introduction:  agri- and horticulture
ISEIA Score : 12
Naturalization in Belgium
First observation in the wild: 1893
Invasion stage: spread
Spatial distribution: widespread
Reproduction in the wild: yes
Dispersion potential: high
Natural habitats: high
More on invasiveness: The taxonomic status of Helianthus tuberosus forms established in the wild is uncertain and could differ from the cultivated form of H. tuberosus (see discussion in Balogh 2008). This "wild form" prefers well-lit, sandy, moist and nutrient-rich soils. It grows best in habitats repeatedly disturbed by floods (riparian areas) and is tolerant of a few weeks of flooding. It may also occur in ruderal and agricultural environments. In Belgian climatic conditions, the plant doesn't produce viable seeds and propagates vegetatively. Tubers and pieces of rhizomes are transported with rodents and flowing water, especially winter floods. It is in strong expansion in neighbouring countries, especially in France, Germany and Switzerland.
Distribution in Belgium
Established populations
absent from district
isolated populations (1-5 localities per district)
widespread (>5 localities per district)
Endangered areas
low risk
medium risk
high risk

Endangered Natura 2000 habitats ():
freshwater habitats: 3270
grasslands: 6430
Impacts on Species
Predation / Herbivory: low
Competition: high
Disease transmission: low
Genetic effects: low
Impacts on Ecosystems
Nutrient cycling: unknown
Physical alteration: high
Natural successions: high
Food web alteration: low
More on impacts: The plant produces dense and persistent monospecific populations along rivers, where it outcompetes native species, slows down natural colonisation by trees and favours river bank erosion. Helianthus produces phytotoxic compounds and can be as competitive as Fallopia japonica in alluvial habitats. It can be a weed of agricultural fields either by invading fields or reducing the yield of consecutive crops (e.g. sugarbeet and maize).
Data Source & References
Authors: Branquart Etienne, Vanderhoeven Sonia, Van Landuyt Wouter, Van Rossum Fabienne, Verloove Filip
Published on:  04 December 2007
Last update:  21 December 2010
AEF (2006)
Cartes provisoires de la distribution de néophytes en Wallonie.
Unpublished document.
Balogh, L. (2008)
Sunflower species (Helianthus spp.)
In: Botta-Dukat, Z. & Balogh, L. (Eds), The most invasive plants in Hungary, HAS Institute of Ecology and Botany, Hungary, pp. 227-255.
Essl, F. & Rabitsch, W. (2003)
Neobiota in Osterreich.
Umweltbundesamt, 432 pp.
Feher, A. (2007)
Historical reconstruction of expansion on non-native plants in the Nitra River Basin (SW Slovakia).
Kanitzia 15: 47-62.
Hartmann, E., Schuldes, H., Kübler, R. & Konold, W. (1995)
Neophyten: Biologie, Verbreitung und Kontrolle ausgewählter Arten.
Ecomed, Landsberg.
Hejda, M., Pysek, P. & Jarosik, V. (2009)
Impact of invasive plants on the species richness, diversity and composition of invaded communities.
Journal of Ecology 97: 393–403.
Lambinon, J., Delvosalle, L. & Duvigneaud, J. (2004)
Nouvelle fore de la Belgique, du Grand-Duché de Luxembourg, du Nord de la France et des régions voisines.
Editions du Patrimoine du Jardin botanique national de Belgique, Meise.
Muller, S. (2004)
Plantes invasives en France : état des connaissances et propositions d'actions.
Publication scientifique du Museum d'Histoire naturelle, Patrimoines naturels n°62.
Schittenhelm, S. (1996)
Competition and control of volunteer Jerusalem artichoke in various crops.
Journal of Agronomy and Crop Science 176(2):103-110.
Starfinger, U. & Kowarik, I. (2003)
Helianthus tuberosus L. (Asteraceae), Topinambur.
Neoflora Fact Sheet.
Swanton, C.J., Cavers, P.B., Clements, D.R. & Moore, M.J. (1992)
The biology of Canadian weeds. 101. Helianthus tuberosus L.
Can. J. Plant Sci. 72: 1367-1382.
Tesio, F., Weston, L.A., Vidotto, F. & Ferrero, A. (2010)
Potential Allelopathic Effects of Jerusalem Artichoke (Helianthus tuberosus) Leaf Tissues.
Weed Technology 24(3):378-385.
Van Landuyt, W., Hoste, I., Vanhecke, L., Van den Bremt, P. Vercruysse, W. & De Beer, D. (2006)
Atlas van de Flora van Vlaanderen en het Brussels gewest.
Nationale Plantentuin en het Instituut voor Natuur- en Bosonderzoek i.s.m. Flo.Wer vzw.
Verloove, F. (2006)
Catalogue of the Neophytes in Belgium (1800-2005).
Scripta Botanica Belgica 39, 89 pp.
Weber, E. & Gut, D. (2004)
Assessing the risk of potentially invasive plant species in central Europe.
Journal for Nature Conservation12: 171-179.
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