an artichoke thistle? from Helen in Louisiana

I bought this plant from an “unnamed” table at a nursery in Baton Rouge in the spring of 2013. It has survived 16deg f temps. The plant was planted in full sun. Because the leaves looked tropical, I believed the cold weather would kill it. Thanks for your time.



I think that this is cardoon (Cynara cardunculus), also called artichoke thistle,  which can be a bit variable, and is grown both as an ornamental and a vegetable.  It resembles several species of thistle [Cirsium] but they would unlikely be sold except for native plantings.  For a start, go here:  but they do not have many pictures of the leaves, so just google ‘cardoon’ to get many more to compare with.  Scotch thistle, Onopordum, also looks a little like this, but is very prickly – cardoon is not prickly.

I hope this helps!


Steve Hill, Ph.D. Botanist, SCNPS



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