Globe Artichoke – an edible, perennial ornamental

Person Author: Lajos Szabo Calender June 26, 2012 Posted Tags: , , Comment 1 Comment

Globe artichoke (Cynara scolymus) is a large perennial thistle with an edible flower bud. The plant is originally from the Mediterranean but grows very well in the UK climate as the plants like mild winters and cool summers; they are doing very well in this strange growing season. Plants grow up to 1.5 metres tall and with its silvery, deeply lobbed leaves this plant has its place in the ornamental garden too.
The edible bud is about 10 cm in diameter and consist of several triangular bracts and the base known as the artichoke heart and in the centre there is the mass of immature flowers which called the choke.


The plants need a well fertilize soil, so if your soil is poor make sure you feed the plants well at least once a month throughout the growing season. You can grow the artichokes from seeds but the plants normally will produce flower buds from the second year. For faster results it is best to grow them by dividing the roots in the autumn or sometimes the artichoke plants produce suckers in ideal conditions. These appear in the summer near the established plants. Ask a gardening friend or a plot holder if he/she wouldn’t mind giving you a small plant or two; they appear in abundance on my plot where I have a well established artichoke field. Just dig them up when they have 4-5 leaves and place them about 90 cm from each other. The artichokes plants are a beautiful addition to your flower bed behind the border, but need quite lots of space.


Pick the flower buds when 8-12 cm in diameter. On one flower spike one main bud will appear but cut only the very bud as side buds can and will grow too, these might not grow as big as the main bud but still your plant will produce more food and longer harvesting period. Boil the buds in salty water, tear of the individual leaves (the bud consist of the bracts which are modified leaves which cover the actual flower) and you will see that the lower portion of the bract is fleshy, dunk that in garlic butter and get the flesh out by squeezing it between your teeth. Truly amazing!! And when you reach the heart… delicious!!!

One Response to “Globe Artichoke – an edible, perennial ornamental”

  • Elaine:

    Truly delicious,but beware the choke at the bottom, you must cust this out, or it will literally choke you on the hairy bits!!

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