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biodiversity explorer

the web of life in southern Africa

Cynara (Globe Artichoke and Cardoon)

Life > eukaryotes > Archaeoplastida > Chloroplastida > Charophyta > Streptophytina > Plantae (land plants) > Tracheophyta (vascular plants) > Euphyllophyta > Lignophyta (woody plants) > Spermatophyta (seed plants) > Angiospermae (flowering plants) > Eudicotyledons > Core Eudicots > Asterids > Euasterid II > Family: Asteraceae > Tribe: Cynareae

About 10 species, native to the Mediterranean region, NW Africa and the Canary Islands. Leaves are formed in clumps and the flowerhead is thistle-like (the genus belongs to the same tribe as thistles). 

Species cultivated in southern Africa

List from Glen (2002).

Cynara cardunculus (Cardoon)

The fleshy leaf bases are eaten as a vegetable and the dried flowers are used for curdling milk. Originates from southern Europe and Northwest Africa.


Cynara scolymus (Globe Artichoke)

The flowerhead is eaten as a vegetable. A cultigen species, probably derived from the Cynara carduncellus (Cardoon) which originates from southern Europe and North Africa.


 Text by Hamish Robertson