This Mediterranean native is a thistle-like tender perennial and  a member of the Aster family, Asteraceae, that also includes daisy, yarrow, and artichoke. Plants form an impressive 3′ tall clump  of deeply-lobed prickly leaves that are silvery-gray and coarsely toothed.  In late summer  6′ tall flowering stalks arise carrying 2″ wide  flowerheads of deep pink to purple flowers subtended by spiny bracts.  Plants are grown for their edible stems and are attractive in borders.  The flowerheads are striking in both fresh and dried arrangements.  The genus name, Cynara, comes from the ancient Greek name of the plants.  The specific epithet, cardunculus, is the diminutive form of the Latin word carduus, meaning thistle, and refers to the appearance of the flower.

Type: Tender perennial

Bloom: Thistle like flowerhead of deep pink to purple flowers in late summer

Size: 3-6′ H x 2-3′ W

Light: Full sun; partial shade

Soil: Average, moderately moist, well-drained

Hardiness: Zones 7-9

Care: Low maintenance

Pests and Diseases: Gray mold, powdery mildew, root rot, snails, slugs, aphids

Propagation: Seed

Companion Plants: Feather reed grass, lamb’s ear, sweet potatoevine ‘Blackie’, Euphorbia dulcis ‘Chameleon’

Photo Credit: BotBin, Wikipedia







By Karen