The Q&A Archives: Artichoke Varieties

Question: We planted two identical globe artichoke plants - purchased at a nursery - and one produced edible fruit and the other produced extremely large and decorative fruit - not very edible. What do we have?

Answer: It's likely that your second plant is Cardoon, a relative of the artichoke, but grown for the edible leafstalks, rather than flower buds. Cardoon has the same growing requirements as artichoke, and the plants look similar, which might explain why it was sold as artichoke. To prepare leaves for harvest, blanch them by gathering them together, typing them up, and wrapping with paper to exclude light. Allow one month's blanching before harvest. To cook, remove the heavy mid-ribs, boil the leaves, and serve them with butter. Cardoon will produce purple flowers that are attractive in dried flower arrangements.

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