Common Name: Artichoke
Family Roots: The origin of artichokes is unknown, though they are said to have come from the Maghreb (North Africa), where they are still found in the wild state; the seeds of artichokes, probably cultivated, were found during the excavation of Mons Claudianus in Egypt during the Roman period.
Personality: The flowers develop in a large head from an edible bud about 8–15 cm 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". These are inedible in older larger flowers.
Availability: February to December… nearly year round
Stem Length: 24 inches
Flower Length: Varies
Care & Handling: Cut stems under water, and place in a fresh flower solution.
Tidbits: The Dutch introduced artichokes to England, where they grew in Henry VIII's garden at Newhall in 1530. They were brought to the United States in the 19th century, to Louisiana by French immigrants and to California by Spanish immigrants. The name has originated from the Arabic al-kharshof, through a Northern Italian dialect word, articiocco.