The cardoon (Cynara cardunculus), also called the artichoke thistle, cardone, cardoni, carduni or cardi, is a thistle-like plant in the aster family Asteraceae. It is the naturally occurring form of the same species as the globe artichoke, and has many cultivated varieties. It is native to the western and central Mediterranean region, where it was domesticated in ancient times.
The wild cardoon is a stout herbaceous perennial plant growing to 0.8–1.5 m tall, with deeply lobed and heavily spined green to grey-green tomentose leaves up to 50 cm long, with yellow spines up to 3.5 cm long. The flowers are violet-purple, produced in a large, globose, massively spined capitulum up to 6 cm diameter.
It is adapted to dry climates, occurring wild from Morocco and Portugal east to Libya and Greece and north to France and Croatia; it may also be native on Cyprus, the Canary Islands and Madeira. In France, it only occurs wild in the Mediterranean south (Gard, Hérault, Aude, Pyrénées-Orientales, Corsica). It has become an invasive weed in the pampas of Argentina, and is also considered a weed in Australia and California. [Wikipedia]
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