Common Names: Cynara, Artichoke, Globe Artichoke

Botanical names: Cynara, (SIN-ah-rah)

Availability: June through October

Vase life: 7 to 14 days

Storage temperatures: 36 to 38 degrees Fahrenheit

Ethylene Sensitive: Yes

Description: A very large (2 to 4 inches across), spiny, thistle-shaped head with a long multi-thread blossom emerging from the center.

Color: Green globe head with blue or purple flowers

Botanical facts: According to Greek mythology, the artichoke became known through the Greek God Zeus. As the story goes, Zeus spotted a beautiful girl named Cynara, while visiting his brother Poseidon. He instantly fell in love, made her a goddess and took her back to Mount Olympus with him. However, Cynara became lonesome and took secret trips to visit her family. As soon as Zeus discovered these trips, he was angered, kicked Cynara off Mount Olympus and turned her into an artichoke. The scientific name for artichoke—Cynara cardunculus—derives from this this myth.

Design notes: A wonderful, bold, textured focal point. Unopened artichoke buds sold as produce can be used in floral design. However, fully opened blossoms with long stems are preferred. The artichoke foliage adds a dramatic touch to floral arrangements.

Purchasing hints: Purchase artichokes with long stems and fully opened blossoms.

Conditioning: Remove all foliage that will be below the water line. Cut stem ends with a sharp knife. Hydrate in a solution of water and commercial floral food for two hours before storage or usage.

Additional notes: Artichokes are one of the oldest foods known to humans.

Video Demonstration:

Organic Autumn Centerpiece