Several kinds of flowers look like artichokes, but the one that most resembles them is the cardoon, a mostly decorative thistle species that sometimes features in Italian cooking.
Types of Flowers
Cardoons and several other thistle species strongly resemble artichokes, which also belong to the thistle family, according to a 1949 article from National Geographic, republished by Texas A&M University.
Cardoon flowers appear very much like artichokes, including the distinctive appearance of the outer leaves. Out of this faux artichoke sprouts a spray of beautiful purple petals.
Don't be fooled: cardoon flowers look like artichokes, but the flower is not this plant's tasty secret. That would be the stalks, which are more visually similar to celery. Prominent chef Mario Batali recommends baking them with Italian spices.
Thistle Family Flowers
Most species of common thistle measure smaller than the average eating artichoke, but also show some visual similarity: for instance, spines grow along the base of the flower the way leaves would on an artichoke.
Other Artichoke Look-alikes
Protea flowers have petals with sharp points and an overlapping appearance, like artichokes.
Artichokes, and the thistle family in general, are all subspecies of asteraceae, according to the University of Hawaii botany department. As such, resemblance occasionally extends to other asteraceae species like tarweed.
- Photo Credit Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Ray Tibbitts Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of John Haslam
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