The globe artichoke (Cynara cardunculus var. scolymus) is a perennial thistle of the Cynara genus originating in Southern Europe around the Mediterranean.
It grows to 1.4â€“2 metres (4.6â€“6.6 ft) tall, with arching, deeply lobed, silvery, glaucous-green leaves 50â€“82 centimetres (20â€“32 in) long.
The flowers develop in a large head from an edible bud about 8â€“15 centimetres (3.1â€“5.9 in) diameter with numerous triangular scales; the individual florets are purple.
The edible portion of the buds consists primarily of the fleshy lower portions of the involucral bracts and the base, known as the "heart"; the mass of immature florets in the center of the bud is called the "choke" or beard. These are inedible in older larger flowers.