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Globe Artichoke

Cynara scolymus

Please keep in mind that it is illegal to uproot a plant without the landowner's consent and care should be taken at all times not to damage wild plants. Wild plants should never be picked for pleasure and some plants are protected by law.
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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Asteraceae (Daisy)
Also in this family:
Alpine Blue Sow-thistle, Alpine Cotula, Alpine Fleabane, Alpine Saw-wort, Annual Ragweed, Annual Sunflower, Argentine Fleabane, Autumn Hawkbit, Autumn Oxeye, Beaked Hawksbeard, Beggarticks, Bilbao Fleabane, Black Knapweed, Black-eyed Susan, Blanketflower, Blue Fleabane, Blue Globe-thistle, Bristly Oxtongue, Broad-leaved Cudweed, Broad-leaved Ragwort, Brown Knapweed, Butterbur, Buttonweed, Cabbage Thistle, Canadian Fleabane, Canadian Goldenrod, Carline Thistle, Chalk Knapweed, Chamois Ragwort, Changing Michaelmas Daisy, Chicory, Chinese Mugwort, Chinese Ragwort, Coltsfoot, Common Blue Sow-thistle, Common Cat's-ear, Common Cudweed, Common Daisy, Common Dandelion, Common Fleabane, Common Goldenrod, Common Groundsel, Common Michaelmas Daisy, Common Mugwort, Common Ragwort, Common Wormwood, Coneflower, Confused Michaelmas Daisy, Corn Chamomile, Corn Marigold, Cornflower, Cotton Thistle, Cottonweed, Creeping Thistle, Daisy Bush, Dwarf Cudweed, Dwarf Thistle, Early Goldenrod, Eastern Groundsel, Eastern Leopardsbane, Elecampane, English Hawkweed, Fen Ragwort, Feverfew, Field Fleawort, Field Wormwood, Fox and Cubs, French Tarragon, Gallant Soldier, Garden Lettuce, Giant Butterbur, Glabrous-headed Hawkweed, Glandular Globe-thistle, Glaucous Michaelmas Daisy, Globe-thistle, Goat's Beard, Golden Ragwort, Golden Samphire, Goldilocks Aster, Grass-leaved Goldenrod, Great Lettuce, Greater Burdock, Greater Knapweed, Grey-headed Hawkweed, Guernsey Fleabane, Hairless Blue Sow-thistle, Hairless Leptinella, Hairy Michaelmas Daisy, Harpur Crewe's Leopardsbane, Hawkweed Oxtongue, Heath Cudweed, Heath Groundsel, Hemp Agrimony, Highland Cudweed, Hoary Mugwort, Hoary Ragwort, Hybrid Knapweed, Intermediate Burdock, Irish Fleabane, Jersey Cudweed, Jerusalem Artichoke, Lance-leaved Hawkweed, Lavender-cotton, Leafless Hawksbeard, Least Lettuce, Leopardplant, Leopardsbane, Leptinella, Lesser Burdock, Lesser Hawkbit, Lesser Sunflower, London Bur-marigold, Magellan Ragwort, Marsh Cudweed, Marsh Hawksbeard, Marsh Ragwort, Marsh Sow-thistle, Marsh Thistle, Meadow Thistle, Melancholy Thistle, Mexican Fleabane, Milk Thistle, Mountain Everlasting, Mouse-ear Hawkweed, Musk Thistle, Narrow-leaved Cudweed, Narrow-leaved Hawkweed, Narrow-leaved Michaelmas Daisy, Narrow-leaved Ragwort, New England Hawkweed, New Zealand Holly, Nipplewort, Nodding Bur-marigold, Northern Hawksbeard, Norwegian Mugwort, Oxeye Daisy, Oxford Ragwort, Pearly Everlasting, Perennial Cornflower, Perennial Ragweed, Perennial Sow-thistle, Perennial Sunflower, Pineapple Mayweed, Plantain-leaved Leopardsbane, Ploughman's Spikenard, Plymouth Thistle, Pontic Blue Sow-thistle, Pot Marigold, Prickly Lettuce, Prickly Sow-thistle, Purple Coltsfoot, Rayed Tansy, Red Star Thistle, Red-seeded Dandelion, Red-tipped Cudweed, Robin's Plantain, Roman Chamomile, Rough Cocklebur, Rough Hawkbit, Rough Hawksbeard, Russian Lettuce, Safflower, Salsify, Saw-wort, Scented Mayweed, Scentless Mayweed, Sea Aster, Sea Mayweed, Sea Wormwood, Seaside Daisy, Shaggy Mouse-ear Hawkweed, Shaggy Soldier, Shasta Daisy, Shetland Mouse-ear Hawkweed, Shrub Ragwort, Sicilian Chamomile, Silver Ragwort, Slender Mugwort, Slender Thistle, Small Cudweed, Small Fleabane, Smooth Cat's-ear, Smooth Hawksbeard, Smooth Sow-thistle, Sneezeweed, Sneezewort, Spear Thistle, Spotted Cat's-ear, Spotted Hawkweed, Sticky Groundsel, Stinking Chamomile, Stinking Hawksbeard, Tall Fleabane, Tall Mouse-ear Hawkweed, Tansy, Thin-leaved Sunflower, Trifid Bur-marigold, Tuberous Thistle, Tyneside Leopardplant, Viper's Grass, Wall Lettuce, Welsh Groundsel, Welted Thistle, White Butterbur, White Buttons, Willdenow's Leopardsbane, Winter Heliotrope, Wood Burdock, Wood Ragwort, Woody Fleabane, Woolly Thistle, Yarrow, Yellow Chamomile, Yellow Fox and Cubs, Yellow Oxeye, Yellow Star Thistle, Yellow Thistle, York Groundsel
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
2 metres tall
Grassland, sand dunes, scrub, seaside.

Purple, many petals
The flower of a Globe Artichoke has a large, round, thistle-like head that can grow up to 6 inches in diameter. The outer leaves of the flower are dark green in color and are tightly layered around the base of the flower. The inner leaves are more purple in hue and are edible. The flower has a large, purple, central cone filled with several yellow flowers. The petals of the flowers are pointed and have purple tips. The seeds of the flower are edible and can be used to make a savory dip or spread.
The flower of the Globe Artichoke plant develops into an edible thistle-like head, which is the vegetable. The actual fruit of the plant is a small, dry, brown, spiny capsule containing numerous seeds.
The leaves of the Globe Artichoke are large, thick, and spiny. They are pale to dark green in color and can grow up to 8 inches in length. Each leaf is deeply lobed with a sharp point at the end and a thick, fleshy base. The leaves are covered in small prickles, which are edible but can be quite sharp.
Globe artichokes do not have any fragrance.
Other Names:
English Artichoke, French artichoke, Green Artichoke.
Frequency (UK):

Other Information


The globe artichoke (Cynara scolymus) is a perennial thistle-like plant that is native to the Mediterranean region. It has large, edible flower heads and is often used as an ingredient in salads, stews, and other dishes. The edible portion of the artichoke is actually the immature flower head, which is composed of many individual fleshy bracts, or scales. Each bract is filled with a small amount of edible pulp, which is high in dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Artichokes are also high in inulin, a type of dietary fiber that can help improve digestion and provide a range of health benefits.


The globe artichoke, also known as Cynara scolymus, is a member of the thistle family and is native to the Mediterranean region. This plant has been cultivated for centuries and is prized for its edible, fleshy flower buds.

The globe artichoke is a perennial plant that can grow up to six feet tall and three feet wide. The plant has a large, spiky, gray-green leaves that can grow up to three feet long and two feet wide. The leaves form a rosette around the base of the plant, and the flower buds grow on long stalks that emerge from the center of the rosette.

The artichoke flower buds are harvested before they fully bloom, usually when they are about three to four inches in diameter. The bud is composed of thick, fleshy scales that surround a central choke, which is inedible. To prepare the artichoke for eating, the outer scales are removed, and the remaining flesh is boiled or steamed until tender.

Artichokes are a good source of dietary fiber, vitamins C and K, and minerals such as magnesium, potassium, and iron. They are also low in calories and fat, making them a healthy addition to any diet.

In addition to its culinary uses, the globe artichoke has a long history of medicinal use. The plant is believed to have diuretic, digestive, and liver-protective properties. Artichoke leaf extract has been studied for its potential to lower cholesterol and improve liver function.

The globe artichoke plant is relatively easy to grow in a sunny location with well-drained soil. It prefers a mild, Mediterranean climate and can be propagated from seed or from root cuttings. The plant requires regular watering and occasional fertilization to thrive.

The history of the globe artichoke can be traced back to ancient Greece and Rome, where it was valued for its flavor and medicinal properties. The plant was also cultivated by the Moors in Spain during the Middle Ages and eventually made its way to the Americas with European settlers.

Today, the globe artichoke is widely cultivated in California, Italy, and other Mediterranean countries. In addition to the traditional green variety, there are also purple and white varieties of artichokes.

The artichoke plant also has ornamental value, with its large, dramatic leaves and striking flower buds. In fact, the plant was used as a symbol of prosperity and abundance in ancient cultures, and it continues to be a popular subject in art and design.

In addition to its edible flower buds, the artichoke plant also produces attractive purple flowers that are beloved by bees and other pollinators. The plant is also a host plant for the larvae of the beautiful monarch butterfly.

Interesting Facts about the Globe Artichoke

Here are some interesting facts about the globe artichoke plant:

  • The artichoke plant is a member of the thistle family, which includes over 20,000 species of plants.

  • The artichoke is the flower bud of the plant, which means that if the bud is allowed to bloom, it will produce a beautiful purple flower.

  • The choke in the center of the artichoke bud is made up of tiny, immature flowers that have not yet opened.

  • Artichokes were first introduced to the United States in the 19th century by French and Spanish immigrants.

  • California is the leading producer of artichokes in the United States, with the majority of the crop coming from the central coast region.

  • The city of Castroville, California is known as the "Artichoke Capital of the World" and hosts an annual artichoke festival.

  • Artichoke leaves have been used for centuries as a natural remedy for digestive issues and liver problems.

  • The artichoke plant has been grown as an ornamental plant for centuries and is prized for its large, dramatic leaves.

  • Artichokes are a popular ingredient in Mediterranean cuisine and are often served as a side dish or as part of a salad.

  • The artichoke is the official vegetable of the state of California.

  • The globe artichoke is a perennial plant, which means it can live for many years if well cared for. It typically produces edible buds for several years before the plant needs to be replaced.

  • The artichoke plant can grow quite large, with some varieties reaching up to 6 feet in height and 3 feet in width.

  • Artichokes are commonly used in dips, such as spinach and artichoke dip, as well as in pasta dishes and casseroles.

  • In addition to being eaten, artichokes have been used for centuries as a natural dye for fabrics.

  • The artichoke plant is a great addition to any garden, as it attracts beneficial insects like ladybugs and lacewings, which can help control garden pests.

  • Artichokes are a good source of antioxidants, which can help protect the body from damage caused by free radicals.

  • The artichoke plant is a type of thistle, which is why it has spiky leaves and a prickly exterior.

  • The artichoke was once considered an aphrodisiac and was thought to increase sexual desire.

  • Artichokes are high in fiber, which can help regulate digestion and promote feelings of fullness.

  • The globe artichoke is closely related to other edible thistle plants, such as the cardoon and the milk thistle.

In conclusion, the globe artichoke plant is a versatile and fascinating plant that has a long history of use in both culinary and medicinal applications. Whether grown for food, medicine, or ornamental purposes, the artichoke is a plant that offers many benefits and is sure to captivate gardeners, cooks, and plant enthusiasts alike.