Cynara cardunculus (Cardoon thistle)
Species: C. cardunculus
Binomial name: Cynara cardunculus
Synonym: Cynara scolymus
Common names: Artichoke thistle, Cardoon thistle, Cardoon, Cardone, Cardoni, Carduni, Cardi
Cynara cardunculus is an exotic plant now fully naturalised in New Zealand. It is a stout herbaceous perennial plant growing 0.8 to 1.5 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. Use extreme caution when handling due to these spines.
The flowers of the cardoon are thistle like with globular heads, from which mauve-purple tufts into a flat-topped inflorescence (there is also a white flowered form of C. cardunculus).
The flowers which appear late spring/mid summer are thistle like with globular heads, from which mauve-purple tufts into a flat-topped inflorescence (there is also a white flowered form of C. cardunculus).
Its massive spined capitulum is up to 6 cm in diameter. They are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by bees and lepidoptera.
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.
It has become an invasive weed in the pampas of Argentina and is also considered a weed in Australia and California.
For more details of this edible plant.
An adult plant
A young plant in flower.