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Charophyta > Streptophytina > Plantae (land plants)
> Tracheophyta (vascular plants) > Euphyllophyta > Lignophyta (woody plants)
> Spermatophyta (seed plants) > Angiospermae (flowering
> Eudicotyledons > Core Eudicots > Asterids >
Euasterid II > Family: Asteraceae > Tribe: Cynareae > Genus: Cynara
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.
The flowerhead (bracts and receptacle but excluding
florets) is eaten as a vegetable. It is thistle like in appearance (it belongs
to the same tribe in the daisy family as thistles) but
has been selectively bred to exclude spines on the bracts (although plants
derived from seed are usually variably spiny). Can be pickled, baked, fried, boiled or
stuffed. Young artichokes can be eaten raw. Cynara scolymus is a
cultigen species, probably derived from Cynara carduncellus (Cardoon).
Cardoon is native to southern Europe and North Africa.
Globe Artichokes were cultivated by the Greeks and Romans
who obtained them from North Africa. They have been grown in England since at
least the 1500's and were considered an aristocratic vegetable. King Henry VIII
(1491-1547; he who had 6 wives but could produce only 3 children) was
particularly fond of artichokes, possibly because they were (mistakenly) thought
to be an aphrodisiac.
Text by Hamish Robertson