Cynara cardunculus L.


Cynara cardunculus is a perennial herb that can grow up to about 5 ft. (1.5 m) tall.
Stems are leafy, erect, and branched. Leaves are basal until bolting, then cauline leaves that are alternate, spiny, and gray green and cobwebby on the upper surface, are seen on the flower stalks.
Flower heads are discoid, large, and seen in loose clusters on top of the stalk. The involucres are hemispheric, 2 in. (5 cm) in diameter having stout spines at the tips. Flowers are purple to blue, slender tubes, and linear.
Fruits are white to brownish, cylindrical, compressed with many stiff bristles, 1-1.5 in. (2.5-3.8 cm), plumose below, and attached at base.
Ecological Threat
Cynara cardunculus prefers disturbed areas such as grassland, coastal scrubs, and fields. It is native to the Mediterranean.

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EDDMapS Distribution

EDDMapS Distribution - This map is incomplete and is based only on current site and county level reports made by experts, herbaria, and literature. For more information, visit

State Regulated List

State Regulated List - This map identifies those states that list this species on their regulated list. For more information, visit

Taxonomic Rank

Kingdom: Plantae
Phylum: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Subclass: Asteridae
Order: Asterales
Family: Asteraceae
Genus: Cynara
Subject: Cynara cardunculus L.

Synonyms and Other Names

Other Common Names:
artichoke thistle, wild artichoke


Plants - Forbs/Herbs