The globe artichoke is an herbaceous perennial plant grown for its flower bud. The above-ground portion of the thistle-like plant dies down each year, but off-shoots rise from the rootstock. The flower buds are borne terminally on the main stem and on laterals. A plant may reach a height of 4 to 5 feet and bear several buds. The edible portions are the fleshy bases of the bracts, the thick, fleshy receptacle on which the bracts are borne, and the flower primordia. Buds develop continuously on plants from September to May in coastal parts of California, where most commercial production occurs. In colder areas, buds may be harvested from mid to late summer.
Production in U.S.: About 35,000 tons.
Use: Mainly as salad after cooking. Canned commercially. Tops often silaged for livestock feed.
Part of plant consumed: Interior base of bracts, receptacle and flower primordia. All are interior structures, not in direct contact with surface sprays.