Yacon, also called the Peruvian ground apple, is a species of daisy native to the Andes mountain range of South America. With its bright yellow flowers and ability to grow to over two meters in height, yacon is certainly a striking plant, and bears more than a passing resemblance to the sunflower to which it is closely related. Unlike the sunflower, however, the yacon grows large, tuberous roots that can be eaten raw like a fruit, and which have been a staple food for the farmers of Colombia and Argentina for centuries.
Even as recently as the early 2000s, yacon remained little-known outside of its native continent. Fortunately, a growing number of Western scientists have started to place the roots of this rather obscure plant under the microscope – and discovered some truly impressive health benefits in the process.