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Image of Artichok
Family: Asteraceae
Tribe: Cynareae
Genus: Cynara
Species: C. cardunculus

The globe artichoke (Cynara cardunculus var. scolymus) is a perennial thistle. It is originating in Southern Europe around the Mediterranean. It grows to 4.6–6.6 ft tall, with arching, deeply lobed, silvery, glaucous-green leaves 20–32 inch long. The flowers develop in a large head from an edible bud about 3.1–5.9 inch diameter with numerous triangular scales; the individual florets are purple.

The edible portion of the buds consists primarily of the fleshy lower portions of the involucral bracts and the base, known as the "heart". The mass of immature florets in the center of the bud is called the "choke" or beard. These are inedible in older larger flowers.

Artichokes can be made into an herbal tea. It affords some of the qualities of the whole vegetable, acting as a diuretic and improving liver function.

See more: Medical Uses of Artichoke