artichoke, name for two different plants of the family Asteraceae ( aster family), both having edible parts. The French, or globe, artichoke ( Cynara scolymus ) is a thistlelike plant of which the globular flower heads are used in the immature state as a salad or vegetable; only the lower part of the fleshy bracts (
leaves) and the center (
heart) are eaten. The cultivation of this S European plant is now a considerable industry in California. A large part of the yearly crop is canned for export to South America. The edible blanched leaves and leafstalks are called chard. The other artichoke plant is the Jerusalem artichoke . Artichokes are classified in the division Magnoliophyta , class Magnoliopsida, order Asterales, family Asteraceae.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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