The artichoke (Cynara cardunculus, Cynara scolymus Syn ) is a thistle-like, strong culture plant of the sunflower family ( Asteraceae). The group of varieties of artichokes grown for its edible knospigen inflorescences and flowers eaten as vegetables. Also on Cynara cardunculus counts the leafy vegetables Cardy.

The artichoke was named medicinal plant of the year 2003.


The artichoke is similar in all parts of their wild ancestors, Cynara cardunculus. She is persistent: After the fall of the first growing year has formed a basal rosette of leaves, about five years 0.5 made ​​up to 2 meters tall stems with inflorescences. The two-to three-fold fiederschnittigen, spiny leaves are up to 80 cm long and 40 cm wide; the bottom is hairy graufilzig.

The bloom conditions are the part of the plant that is harvested. Compared to wild-growing forms of the inflorescences are larger. An earlier heyday several harvests are possible in the year. The inflorescence floor is strong meaty. The bottom fleshy bracts are hardly thorny in cultivated forms. If the inflorescences not harvested, the violet tubular flowers show. Are formed with a pappus of 2 to 3.5 centimeters long, feathery bristles 2-8 mm long achenes.


The frost-sensitive artichoke is native to the Mediterranean region; from the eastern Mediterranean ( Cilicia ) via Persia to North Africa, west to Spain and also in the Canary Islands. Initial reports of the artichoke can be found at Pliny and Columella, the assignment of the plants mentioned there is uncertain. So could the ancient Greek scolymos, which refers to the spines, other thistles mine. Around the first century AD, the beginning of the cultivation of the artichoke seems to lie. The Arabs spread the artichoke in the southern Mediterranean. The name of the plant in European languages ​​is derived from the Arabic name of Iberian- الخرشوف / al - haršūf, the Spanish word alcachofa as well as the Italian carciofo. The German name artichoke artichoke as well as english goes beyond the common in the northern Italian Nebenform also articiocco back to this Arabic word. Rarely there is also the Eindeutschung Erdschocke. In other languages, the alien appearing word was influenced by such folk etymologies. Thus we find in older English texts occasionally the spelling hartichoke, which apparently goes back to the popular belief, the heart (heart) of the artichoke is inedible and lead to death by suffocation ( choke ).

After the plant was imported by the Florentine merchant Filippo Strozzi the early 15th century from Sicily, it began its triumphal march to France and Great Britain, and 400 years later it was introduced in the United States. Until the French Revolution, the artichoke was in the gardens of the French gentry a sign of wealth and noble life.

The main growing areas are now Italy, USA, Spain, Egypt, Argentina and France. The plant requires about 1 m square and prefers sunny, warm places in the garden. Are harvested the fist-sized flower heads when they are still closed and slightly projecting the outer scales. If you miss this date, shows a large purple flower.



For large artichokes, the fleshy lower portions of the scale leaves and the flowers soils ( soils basket actually ) are edible. The lying among the leaves hairs, the so-called " hay ", are not suitable for consumption. Smaller artichokes places that are also harvested early (as eg on the vegetable island Vignole in the lagoon of Venice is common ) can be consumed as a whole, including those with the seal of the protected geographical indication (PGI ) provided stingless Roman artichoke ( carciofo romanesco ). The whole flower heads are fried, boiled or fried. The taste of the artichoke is feinherb zartbitter up. Artichokes are 20 to 45 minutes boiled in salted water with a little lemon juice. The leaves are then plucked and pulled off the bottom part with the teeth. In general, a vinaigrette is this enough. Artichoke bottoms be filed and include a common pizza topping. Artichoke hearts are known as special culinary delicacy. The artichoke heart called the lower thickened portion of the sepal (actually Hüllblatts ) an artichoke. Artichoke hearts are freshly cooked offered inserted as well as in cans or. In oil with herbs they are popular component Mediterranean antipasto platters.

Along with herbs and a dark brown digestif called Cynar is made from artichokes since 1953 in Padua.

Medicinal plant

Artichoke is attributed to an appetizing, digestive and cholesterol- lowering effect. Due to the different mechanisms of action ( increased excretion of cholesterol, increased consumption of bile acid synthesis and inhibition of the formation of cholesterol in the liver cells ) should be possible in fact by eating artichokes a reduction in total cholesterol by up to 12 percent. In this respect, the artichoke has an important role in the prevention of atherosclerosis. The bitter substance contained in them cynarin stimulates the metabolism of the liver and bile. Except as Gargemüse its leaves are used in juices, teas, dry extracts and tinctures. Their medical and dietary effect is attributed to the content of specific flavonoids and quinic acid derivatives.