Globe Artichokes, and Cardoons, their “wild” cousins, are varieties of edible thistles, and are both vegetable, and healing herb.
The globe artichoke is a cultivated food worldwide, especially loved in the Mediterranean where it originated. The edible portion of the plant is the flower buds (8-15cm in diameter) before the flowers come into bloom. Historically the leaves were also eaten by the Greeks and Romans. A tea can be made from the flowering parts.
The flower buds of the cardoon can also be eaten as small (and spiny) artichokes, but it is actually the stems, and leaf stalks that are eaten, and is a sought after delicacy in many regions.
|Size:||1.8-2.1m||1.2 – 1.8m|
(if left to flower)
Medicinally the artichoke contain many beneficial bioactive compounds and it has one of the highest reported antioxidant capacity in vegetables making it a potent cancer fighting food. It has also been given to lower cholesterol levels, and has shown a positive influence on liver functions and bile production.
Besides having culinary and medicinal uses, the artichoke and cardoon plants are stunning in the garden and can be grown simply for their beauty. With long and large silver-grey deeply toothed leaves the large plant is statuesque, and if left to flower, the attractive purple flower heads will attract bees and bumblebees to the garden.