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Experimental Crop: Stachys Floridana

Posted: Sun Apr 26, 2015 5:20 pm
by JC's Garden
Stachys Floridana AKA Florida Betony or Rattlesnake Weed, has an edible tuber. I've tried a few and they are quite tasty. I decided to grow them in containers. :roll: :roll:
Mine are starting to flower. Don't know if this the best time to harvest or not but one of the two is about to be.
The hardest part of growing these things for me has been NOT pulling them up. :lol: I've been battling them for years. This is one the most invasive member of the mint family I've ever seen.
Here's a before picture. I'll post a picture of my harvest (if I have one).
Florida Betony
Florida Betony

Re: Experimental Crop: Stachys Floridana

Posted: Sun Apr 26, 2015 7:01 pm
by JC's Garden
I have learned a few things.
1. Harvesting when the flowers first appear is wrong. Didn't get very many. :( See bottom pic.
2. DO NOT grow Stachys in styrofoam ice chest. They grow right through it. :shock:
2015-04-26 14.38.36.jpg
Here's one that did and another emerging.
2015-04-26 14.39.22.jpg
3. Some are hollow and probably no good. See the floaters? :?
2015-04-26 14.41.12.jpg
I'll bet I still have a lot to learn. :roll:

Re: Experimental Crop: Stachys Floridana

Posted: Mon Apr 27, 2015 9:39 am
by !potatoes!
interesting. i grow S. affinis (which has been grown for food in many places for a long time) and usually harvest when the tops die back from frost in the fall. they can be on he invasive side...i've been growing in containers so far, but may try to find a more permanent in-ground location. they are tasty, though. too bad they're so fiddly to wash. have seen the tubers sold for $18/lb.

Re: Experimental Crop: Stachys Floridana

Posted: Mon Apr 27, 2015 1:25 pm
by JC's Garden
I've been looking at affinis as well and have read there's no real difference in taste. If size is the only difference, I'll go with Floridana's quantity. Lots of it around here.

Re: Experimental Crop: Stachys Floridana

Posted: Wed Apr 26, 2017 6:55 pm
by rojen0911
Hello~~ I hope you will update your container efforts a little. I have had S. floridana in my flower beds for years now-- from whence it came, I do not know. I bought some flower bulbs from near Columbia, SC and they could have come with those, though if there was a stray tuber, it would have had to have been a very small piece. I've have had weeds come in with bagged peat compost (the dreaded sedge "nutgrass" for one) and there might have been some floridana seeds in there.

Anyway, this year I am growing S. affinis in containers and plan to do the same with the floridana. (I have never had affinis before.) The garden site where the floridana is, is a bit heavy for good, full tuber development since the plants have spread on their own, even into uncultivated lawn as you surely must know they will. I am hoping that in a potting soil, I will get the best-formed and largest tubers. I may possibly prepare some ground with deep-tilling and amendments as an experiment as well, to look into harvesting from a "vegetable garden" aspect.

Right now at the end of April, my floridana plants are budded. (I live in the Charlotte, NC area.) From "the literature", S. affinis seems to form new tubers from mid-summer into fall. S. floridana, from the Clemson U. website: "New tubers are formed in late spring as the temperatures begin to increase before the plant goes dormant in the summer." Perhaps then, the floridana could be harvested from summer to fall, extending the produce season beyond the "fall only" affinis harvests. My only question would be wondering if the floridana tubers need to sit and "finish" in the soil as regards keeping qualities are concerned.

Last summer, due to not being able to garden much, I could not find a single floridana plant-- not even hugged up in the shade of larger ornamentals-- and was worried that I had lost my entire "stand". Well sir, once the cooler temps of fall came in and there was some nice rain--- BOOM!--- the entire area was once again covered in floridana. Silly me, right? They are entirely hardy and show now cold damage at all. even into the 20's F. Most plants were about 4 inches tall through the winter.

I'm also wondering if you have grown S. affinis. particularly to seek out what you have observed as far as flowering and seed production goes. The usual line is that affinis seldom even flowers, but that seems to have come from European reports and may be due to the difference in climate and growing season. A French report said that over several years, plants grown from Chinese tubers bloomed less and less and finally ceased to flower at all.

From what I gather in general, floridana is more productive. Opinions on taste differences vary and could largely be cultural, especially influenced by soil composition. If they were tasted upon digging, some of the "earthy" notes could be from soil particles clinging to them. I know I have done the same and I do taste the red clay of the soil. Mostly, though, when well-cleaned, I get the flavor of heat-free radishes. Not at all what I would call a "nutty" flavor as some say.

The tubers of affinis are a good deal "prettier" and restranteurs might seek those out over floridana as far as a superior "presentation" goes, and I don't disagree. Some might say there are flavor differences, but that might just be from "suggestability" and yes, somewhat from snobbishness. However, for a homegrower, if floridana is more productive per plant and produces greater quantities relative to space allotment goes, floridana would be the choice.

Have you experimented with storing tubers in the fridge, both short-term and over the winter months?

Well, I did run on a bit, but I'm currently very interested in crosnes of both species and different ways to grow them, so I get carried away sometimes.

Any further discussion from you would be most appreciated.

Re: Experimental Crop: Stachys Floridana

Posted: Thu Apr 27, 2017 11:37 am
by john gault
Wow :!: I can't believe I'm seeing a thread on this so-called weed. Personally, I don't consider it a weed, but I know so many do; I allow it to grow everywhere in my yard and I don't see how it adversely affects any thing else I grow, because it doesn't get too big to shade anything out and it doesn't seem to suck up any excess moisture/nutrients from the soil.

As for when to harvest the tuber, I don't know the answer, but since I have so much of this plant I have tons of the tubers at my disposal and they can get very big, one is plenty for a very large salad.

Here are some pics of this plant in my yard...BTW, the bees absolutely go crazy over them...if this plant is a weed, than I'm a weed lover :flower:


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Re: Experimental Crop: Stachys Floridana

Posted: Thu Apr 27, 2017 3:53 pm
by rainbowgardener
We should have a weed lovers thread! :) I'm in. I don't have this particular weed, but it seems like a good one!