Cardoon

CardoonThe cardoon (Cynara cardunculus), also called the artichoke thistle, cardone, cardoni, carduni, or cardi, is a thistle-like plant in the sunflower family. It is a naturally occurring species that is sometimes considered to include the globe artichoke, and has many cultivated forms. It is native to the western and central Mediterranean region, where it was domesticated in ancient times.

The two main cultivar groups are the cardoon (Cynara cardunculus Cardoon Group, syn. C. cardunculus var. altilis DC), selected for edible leaf stems, and the artichoke (Cynara cardunculus Scolymus Group, sometimes distinguished as Cynara scolymus or C. cardunculus var. scolymus (L.) Fiori), selected for larger edible flower buds. They differ from the wild plant in being larger (up to 2 m tall), much less spiny, and with thicker leaf stems and larger flowers, all characteristics selected by humans for greater crop yield and easier harvest and processing. Wild and cultivated cardoons and artichokes are very similar genetically, and are fully interfertile, but only have very limited ability to form hybrids with other species in the genus Cynara.

Cardoon requires a long, cool growing season (about five months), but it is frost-sensitive. It also typically requires substantial growing space per plant, so is not much grown except where it is regionally popular. (Source: Wikipedia)

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