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  subsp. var.  Artichoke
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Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture

Artichoke (Cynara Scolymus, Linn.). Composite, The artichoke (or the Globe artichoke, to distinguish it from the Jerusalem artichoke) is a strong thistle-like plant (Fig. 389), grown for the edible flower- heads (Fig. 390). It is native in southern Europe and northern Africa, and is not hardy in the northernmost parts of the United States. It is perennial, but the plantation should be renewed every two or three years. See Cynara.

The artichoke is propagated by seed or by suckers. The latter is the preferable method, for a good strain or variety may thus be perpetuated. The buds or shoots are detached from the old crown in spring before growth begins. Seeds produce bearing plants the following year, although beads may be secured the same autumn if the season is long and if the seeds are started early under glass.

The soft fleshy receptacle of the flower-head and the thickened base of the scales (or involucre bracts) are the edible parts. They are sometimes eaten raw, but are usually boiled and served with drawn butter or sauce. The leaves are sometimes blanched after the manner of sea-kale and cardoon, and are cooked as a pot-herb.

In the southern states and California, the artichoke is grown without difficulty. In California, particularly, it thrives as a field crop. In northern gardens, even professional and skilled gardeners have usually given it up after a few trials. It is found in a few gardens on Long Island, in Massachusetts, and perhaps a few other places, and is there grown with fair success, provided that the crown is protected in winter in such a way that snow or heavy mulch is not allowed to choke the plant. This seems to be the chief danger. Instead of covering with manure or litter, place a cap or miniature tent over the crown to give it air and freedom of breathing. The flower-heads are now regularly and commonly found on sale at the green grocers' in our larger eastern cities, and the supply comes mostly from California. The large seeds may need special treatment to make them germinate promptly. The better way, undoubtedly, for the home gardener who may wish to try a few plants, is to secure sucker plants from one of the big seedsmen or professional plant- growers. Set them in fairly good warm soil, 3 feet each way, or 4 by 2, and give clean cultivation. Protect the crowns during winter as suggested, and in following spring thin to about three snoots. Edible heads may be expected in July. They are gathered for use before the flower-heads open. It is better to cut the old stalk down to the ground after the head is removed, for the root is not then weakened and new shoots will spring up. There are a number of varieties, Large Green Paris being the one mostly mentioned in California. In parts of Europe the artichoke is grown with special skill, but it has never been a prominent vegetable in American gardens.

The above text is from the Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture. It may be out of date, but still contains valuable and interesting information which can be incorporated into the remainder of the article. Click on "Collapse" in the header to hide this text.



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