Raw, Cooked as a Vegetable
The globe artichoke has become important as a medicinal herb in recent years following the discovery of cynarin. This bitter-tasting compound, which is found in the leaves, improves liver and gall bladder function, stimulates the secretion of digestive juices, especially bile, and lowers blood cholesterol levels. The leaves are anticholesterolemic, antirheumatic, cholagogue, digestive, diuretic, hypoglycaemic and lithontripic. They are used internally in the treatment of chronic liver and gall bladder diseases, jaundice, hepatitis, arteriosclerosis and the early stages of late-onset diabetes. The leaves are best harvested just before the plant flowers, and can be used fresh or dried.
Seed - sow early spring in a greenhouse. Germination is usually quick and good, prick out the seedlings into individual pots as soon as they are large enough to handle and plant them out into their permanent positions during the summer. It would be prudent to give the plants some winter protection in their first year. The seed can also be sown in situ in April. Sow the seed 2cm deep, putting 2 or 3 seeds at each point that you want a plant. Spacing 1.0m by 1.5 m. Protect the seed from mice. Division of suckers. This is best done in November and the suckers overwintered in a cold frame then planted out in April. Division can also be carried out in March/April with the divisions being planted out straight into their permanent positions, though the plants will be smaller in their first year.
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Prefers a light warm soil and an open position in full sun. Requires plenty of moisture in the growing season and a good rich soil. Succeed in areas with an average rainfall ranging from 400 - 1800mm. Prefers a sheltered position but plants are reasonably wind resistant[K]. Plants are tolerant of saline conditions. Plants succeed in cool climates though they may need protection in cold winters, they are unlikely to thrive in the north of Britain. Wet winters are far more likely to cause problems than cold ones[4, K]. The globe artichoke is often cultivated in the garden and sometimes commercially for its edible flower buds, there are some named varieties. It is best to renew the plants by division of the suckers every 3 years but they do live for a number of years. The plant has recently been reclassified (1999) as not having specific status but being part of C. cardunculus. However, since it is distinct enough from the gardener's viewpoint (having a much larger seedhead) we have decided to leave it with its own entry for the time being[K]. Plants seem to be immune to the predations of rabbits. The flowering plant is a magnet for bees.
Problems, pests & diseases
Associations & Interactions
There are no interactions listed for Cynara scolymus. Do you know of an interaction that should be listed here? to add it.
Polycultures & Guilds
There are no polycultures listed which include Cynara scolymus.
This table shows all the data stored for this plant.
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