The globe artichoke (Cynara cardunculus var. scolymus), also known by the names French artichoke and green artichoke in the U.S., is a variety of a species of thistle cultivated as a food. List of World’s Largest Artichokes Producing Countries. The edible portion of the plant consists of the flower buds before the flowers come into bloom. The budding artichoke flower-head is a cluster of many budding small flowers (an inflorescence), together with many bracts, on an edible base. Once the buds bloom, the structure changes to a coarse, barely edible form. Another variety of the same species is the cardoon, a perennial plant native to the Mediterranean region. Both wild forms and cultivated varieties (cultivars) exist. Artichoke is an edible vegetable, cultivated in the countries bordering the Mediterranean basin. The major producers are Italy, France, and Spain. In the United States, over 80% of production is from a Monterey country alone. Artichoke is commonly used in Cooking, Liqueur, Herbal tea, and other medical treatments. Italy is the largest producer of Artichokes with around 365,000 metric tons. Egypt and Spain are the second and third highest producers of artichokes respectively.
This vegetable grows to 1.4–2 m (4 ft 7 in–6 ft 7 in) tall, with arching, deeply lobed, silvery, glaucous-green leaves 50–83 cm (19+1⁄2–32+1⁄2 in) long. The flowers develop in a large head from an edible bud about 8–15 cm (3–6 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.
Artichoke contains the bioactive agents apigenin and luteolin. The total antioxidant capacity of artichoke flower heads is one of the highest reported for vegetables. Cynarine is a chemical constituent in Cynara. The majority of the cynarine found in artichoke is located in the pulp of the leaves, though dried leaves and stems of artichoke also contain it.
Note: Production in metric tons per year (2022/2023).
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