Culture ethnobotany foraging gardening invasive species local food permaculture Plants wild food

Wild Artichokes are here!

Cynara cardunculus, or artichoke thistle, is the wild version of the commerical artichoke. But get this, they taste the same, and have delicious hearts, but they are armored with thistle spikes. Considering eating a whole artichoke down the heart is a slow food and fun ordeal already in our culinary traditions, then why should adding thorns be that big a difference? I want to say this about them, they are very sharp, but not once have they ever broken my skin. I wish I could say the same about pruning roses.

Here’s the other catch: They are way easier to grow, in fact you probably needn’t grow them at all considering they are in massive abundance here in the wild, and the only thing they currently feed are the bees with their flowers, and Monsanto for the Round-up bought to combat these weeds that very few people want around. This is an abundant food perfect for humans to harvest as food. As millions and millions of Eastern Europeans flock to the forest to pick mushrooms in the summer, why don’t we gather and have Wild Artichoke Fest here?

I also grow regular (commerical) artichokes in the same habitat. I would say that out of all the plants in my garden, the gophers’ favorite by far are my artichokes. Also, as you might have seen in my previous video, my artichokes are also usually full of aphids and the ants that farm them.

The gophers don’t touch the wild artichokes, and they are aphid and ant free as well. Did I mention that I never have to water them and they grow for many years and are showy and beautiful like an ornamental cactus?