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Cynara scolymus

This delicacy has been prized by gourmands for decades and fetches top prices at supermarkets. In warmer climates, though, it grows like a weed (in fact, in Mediterranean regions it is a weed, growing wild in hot, dry spots). Best of all, when you grow your own, you can harvest while the bracts are still small and extremely tender.

The edible parts of this relative of the thistle are actually flower buds. Steam or boil the green bracts ("leaves" enclosing the flower bud), and scoop out the fleshy inner side of each bract. The most highly desired part of the vegetable is the heart, positioned at the base of the bracts, below the hairy center. In Zones 8-10, set out transplants in fall. In all other areas, sow seeds indoors six to eight weeks before the last frost, and move plants outdoors early enough to receive at least 10 days of temperatures above freezing but below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. (Plants must be exposed to cold in order to bloom.)





3 to 8 feet


5-6 feet wide



how to grow Artichoke

more varieties for Artichoke
'Imperial Star' artichoke

'Imperial Star' artichoke

has been bred specifically for growing as an annual; it produces rounded green buds.

'Violetto' artichoke

'Violetto' artichoke

bears elongated violet or green buds.

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