Cynara cardunculus (Cardoon)
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Euasterid II > Family: Asteraceae > Tribe: Cynareae > Genus: Cynara
The fleshy leaf bases are eaten as a vegetable and the
dried flowers are used for curdling milk. Originates from southern Europe and
Cynara carduncellus is native to southern
Europe (from Crete and Sicily westwards to Spain and Portugal) and Northwest
Africa, and is in the same tribe of the daisy family (Asteraceae) as thistles.
It has been domesticated to produce the vegetable called Cardoon which has
fleshy leaf-bases that are eaten rather like celery (either raw or cooked). The
dried flowers are sometimes used as a substitute for rennet to curdle milk to
produce cheese (e.g. the French soft curd cheese called La Caillebotte à la
Cynara carduncellus has become naturalised in the
pampas grasslands of South America.
Globe Artichoke is also
thought to have been derived from Cynara carduncellus but is placed in a
separate cultigen species called Cynara
scolymus. It is the floweheads of Globe Artichoke that are eaten and
these are much larger than those of Cardoon.