The globe artichoke (Cynara cardunculus var. scolymus) is a variety of a species of thistle cultivated as a food. The edible matter is buds that form within the flower heads before the flowers come into bloom. The buds go away or change to a coarse, barely edible form when the flower blooms. The uncultivated or wild variety of the species is called a cardoon. It is a perennial plant native to the Mediterranean region. It grows to 1.4-2 m (4.6-6.6 ft) tall, with arching, deeply lobed, silvery, glaucous-green leaves 50-82 cm (20-32 in) long. The flowers develop in a large head from an edible bud about 8-15 cm (3.1-5.9 in) diameter with numerous triangular scales; the individual florets are purple. The edible portions of the buds consist 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.
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