Cardoon (Cynara cardunculus)
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The cardoon (Cynara cardunculus), also called the artichoke thistle, cardone, cardoni or cardi, is a member of the thistle family related to the Globe artichoke. While the flower buds can be eaten much as the artichoke, more often the stems are eaten after being blanched by being wrapped or buried in earth. Battered and fried, the stems are also traditionally served at St. Joseph’s altars in New Orleans.
Cardoon stalks can be covered with small, nearly invisible spines that can cause substantial pain if they become lodged in the skin. Several “spineless” cultivars have been developed to overcome this but care in handling is recommended for all types.
Cardoon in its natural habitat
A cardoon seed
A cardoon flower head