The artichoke flowers are perennial and part of the Asteraceae flowering family. Though they have been admired and eaten for a millennium, these elegant items are not as common on the high street as you may think!
Artichokes generally come in many sizes – all depending on the individual genus and variation – ranging from small to large. They also thrive in full sun to partial shade, in well-drained, fertile soil.
The best part? There are over 140 existing varieties of artichoke – so you’re bound to find the perfect artichoke flower for your needs!
Additionally, artichokes are also quite a fascinating plant to look at, characterized by deeply lobed leaves, large flower heads, and a delicious sweet taste when cooked. However, it’s important to remember that only the flower bud of the plant is edible!
But what is it about the artichoke that makes it stand out? Are the variations really all that different?
If you want to find out more about this plant, you’ve come to the right place! Read on to find out more about the different types of artichoke flowers available.
1. Baby Anzio Artichoke
These are the unopened flower heads of the perennial artichoke, and is the smallest of its kind, measuring just 2 inches in diameter when harvested. They have tender, but firm leaves that form a compact floret – all in shades of violet and green. Baby Anzio artichokes also provide a nutty, caramel flavor when cooked.
2. Big Heart Artichoke
The green Big Heart Artichoke is one of the first patented annual artichokes to be grown from seed. It is aptly named, weighing around a pound and featuring a large, fleshy base. It also grows without thorns and produces a dense bud once it flowers.
3. Carciofo Romanesco Artichoke
Translating as the “Artichoke of Rome”, it’s a variation that puts a twist on the traditional artichoke. This perennial variety has deep purple leaves with a green tinge, is thornless and tender, and also features a large “heart” that is “fuzz-free” and nutty flavored. It tastes best when grilled.
4. Cardoon Artichoke
Cardoons are herbaceous perennials relative to the artichoke plant. It appears more like a thistle rather than an artichoke, with silvery leaves, and comes with the requirement that you consume the stem rather than the flower bud. Unfortunately, they can be hard to find harvested.
5. Castel Artichoke
This artichoke is light green and round, loaded with calcium, antioxidants, and vitamin B. It is one of France’s most widely grown artichokes and is renowned for its soft heart and refined taste.
It has medicinal properties and helps to lower blood pressure and helps with digestive issues. The Castel artichoke also tastes best from May to October.
6. Chianti Artichoke
The Chianti artichoke is large and dense, producing green artichokes with maroon dashes on its leaves. It usually grows between 4 and 5 inches and has tapered green leaves. It’s quite sweet and tastes great when stuffed with cheese and dried tomatoes!
7. Chinese Artichoke
The Chinese artichoke is a sought-after perennial root vegetable. It has foliage that resembles spearmint and has been used for medicinal and culinary reasons. In mid to late summer, the tiny flowering plants of this artichoke type are covered by flower spikes in stunning pink-mauve colors.
8. Colorado Star Artichoke
The Colorado Star variety can be grown as an early maturing annual from seed in several climates. It is typically purple rather than green, small, and is striking to look at. Much like other artichokes, the Colorado Star requires fertile, well-drained soils with a pH of 6.5-7.0.
9. Emerald Artichoke
This is a thornless, fleshy-leaved, globe artichoke type that is quite cold-hardy. It can produce as many as 10-12 flower buds per season. If grown as an annual, harvest time will be in the late fall. But if it’s grown as a perennial, its main harvest will take place in late spring.
10. Fiesole Artichoke
Fiesole has a wine-colored tulip-shaped flower and a tender stalk. The Fiesole artichoke also comes in a miniature variety and is available year-round, with spring being its peak season.
In terms of flavor, the Fiesole artichoke provides an intense yet highly delicious flavor combination that is both nutty and fruity.
11. Green Globe Artichoke
This is the most common green-headed artichoke type, with wide, deep green buds and a light purple tinge. This large plant gets 4 feet tall and wide and can handle part shade.
The Green Globe variety produces uniformly shaped, thistle-like flower heads, and artichokes that are sweetly flavored. It is also ideal to grow in warmer climates.
12. Gros Vert de Laon Artichoke
A rare French mid-season variety that should be harvested from April to July in a second season. It produces the largest heart of any artichoke and has impressive green and purple flower heads. They are easy to grow and last many years!
13. Imperial Star (Tavor) Artichoke
The perfect variety for those in less than ideal climates for artichoke. It is the most popular homegrown variety and has 4-5 inch wide buds. The plant itself is nearly spineless, and the artichokes have a buttery, delicate flavor. They’re also easy to grow from seed!
14. Italian Globe Artichoke
This stunning purple Italian Globe heirloom artichoke is renowned for delicious-tasting violet flowers situated atop impressive flower spikes. It should be sewn into a well-prepared seedbed in either March or April when the soil is at its warmest.
15. Jerusalem Artichoke
This easy-to-grow artichoke flower has 3-4 inch long elongated tubers that make it appear like a ginger root. A relative of sunflowers, Jerusalem Artichokes also send up tall stems that are topped with yellow flowers in autumn. It makes a great addition to salads and soups!
16. King Artichoke
Just as its name implies, this is a large type of artichoke that often weighs more than one pound in peak season. The leaves have distinctive green spots at the tips, and they are very vivid, making for an equally attractive and tasty flower.
17. Mercury Artichoke
The petite mercury, with its reddish-purple tinges and distinctive rounded top, is sweeter than many other artichokes and is usually three and a half inches in diameter. Like the Baby Anzio, mercury is derived from the Italian Romanesco.
18. Lyon Artichoke
Lyon has the largest heart in the artichoke family, growing up to 6 inches in diameter, and is one of the most imposing additions to the artichoke family. It has a nutty, slightly sweet, and buttery flavor and is commonly used for stuffing, while its leaves taste great in salads.
The Lyon artichoke is also bold in appearance, with sharply tapered leaves surrounding a floret.
19. Omaha Artichoke
Omaha Artichokes can reach 6-inches in diameter as it matures, and is characterized by their big, globular shape. It has a striking appearance thanks to tapered green and red leaves.
The Omaha Artichoke is far less bitter than many artichoke varieties and has an addictive rich nutty, buttery flavor when properly cooked.
20. Purple Of Romagna Artichoke
The Purple of Romagna artichoke is a half-hardy purple-tinged artichoke that produces tender and tasty purple-green flowers. It’s an heirloom variety that originates in Italy and grows best in warmer climates.
21. Romanesco Artichoke
The Romanesco artichoke produces eye-catching bronze and greenish-purple tinted globes. There are many varieties of the Romanesco artichoke, and they are heirloom varieties from Italy. They are perfect for home gardens and are extremely tasty as well.
22. Sangria Artichoke
Sangria artichokes have a pointed shape with deep purple leaves. They have two distinct growing seasons, in the spring and fall. The Sangria artichoke also has an earthy and nutty flavor and can be eaten steamed whole or cut up and consumed.
23. Sienna Artichoke
This elongated artichoke variety matures last in the growing season. It produces wide, wine-red colored hearts. It is especially great when cooked with garlic, olive oil, pepper, and lemon juice.
24. Tempo Globe Artichoke
Tempo artichokes are a hybrid type of artichoke. The bracts on the artichokes have a reddish-purple tinge, and they produce 3-4 main buds that are typically around 5 inches in diameter. This type of artichoke flowers in the summer months.
25. Violet de Provence Artichoke
A purple globe variety with a purplish hue, this fine-flavored artichoke is a spectacle. It is a traditional Italian vegetable that features attractive large purple thistle-like flower heads that immediately capture the eye, and is best planted in early summer.
26. Violetta di Chioggia Artichoke
Another Italian heirloom variety, this artichoke is known for its beautiful beet color and elongated buds. It’s more cold-hardy than other variations and produces between six and eight buds each. The Violetta di Chioggia variation should be harvested in April to June in the second season.
And that concludes our artichoke flowers list! We hope you’ve learned a little more about artichokes, specifically the different flavors that are provided by each individual flower, and the color variations they come in. Feel free to carry out your own additional research to discover more artichoke types!
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