Q: Why are Jerusalem cherry and Jerusalem artichoke so-named? What do they have to do with the Holy Land?
A: Email me if you have better answers than these:
Dr. Douglas A. Bailey, UGA Department of Horticulture:
To my knowledge neither have any association with Jerusalem or the Holy Land.
Here’s the most logical explanation for the artichoke: Smith, James Edward (1807). An introduction to physiological and systematical botany. p. 108f. “A change, as I presume, of the Italian name Girasole Articiocco, sun-flower Artichoke, as the plant was first brought from Peru to Italy, and thence propagated throughout Europe.” Girasole is Italian for sunflower and was mispronounced/modified into Jerusalem.
I don’t know the origin of the common name Jerusalem cherry. Solanum pseudocapsicum is native from Mexico South through Brazil and is thought to have been introduced to Europe via Portuguese traders coming back to Madeira (thus the other common name of Madeira Winter Cherry) and eventually Portugal from Brazil. I haven’t a clue where the Jerusalem comes from.
From a “Plants of the Bible” standpoint, obviously neither appear in scripture, which makes sense for New World natives.
Shannon Pable, native plant expert: