Why Are Jerusalem Artichoke and Jerusalem Cherry So Named?

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:

As for Jerusalem cherry, Solanum pseudocapsicum, is a native to Peru.  here’s an explanation from http://m.wisegeek.com
“The name is a misnomer, as the plant does not bear real cherries and is not native to Jerusalem or the area. One theory as to the origins of its name is that a gardener brought back the seeds or plants from someone’s private garden in Jerusalem and simply attached the country’s name to the plant without researching its true native land. Several other plants with the Jerusalem name also have little to do with the country itself. One authority hypothesizes that Jerusalem is a substitute for a foreign or exotic country when the plant’s namer doesn’t have a background to attribute to the plant.”
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