Cardoon (Cynara cardunculus)

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Cynara cardunculus belongs to the Αsteraceae Family.  It is a perennial, herbaceous species (1).  Its stems are erect, and the leaves are green on the surface and the undersides are white and downy (2).  Its flower is about 50 mm in diameter and is always at the top of the stems.  The flowers are blue, purple or sometimes white in colour (3). It is cultivated as vegetable (1) and the whole plant is edible when cooked and fresh (4).  It contains a pharmaceutical substance called cynarine.

Life Cycle

It is a perennial plant (1) which blooms in May and June (3).


It is found in dry places, in cultivated places or near roadsides (1).  Furthermore, it can be found in coastal areas with sandy soils (3).


It grows on the Iberian Peninsula and in east Turkey (2). It is also found in Greece (1) including Cyprus (4).

Conservation Status

It has been recorded as having a declining population in Greece, especially in touristy areas. In other countries it is not threatened (5). It is not mentioned on the IUCN Red list (6).


Description translated by Natasa Palaiogewrgou (2009)

1)      Γ.Π. Σαρλής (1999), Συστηματική Βοτανική-Εφαρμογές Κορμοφύτων, εκδ. Σταμούλη

2)      Blamey. M., and Grey-Wilson. C. (1993) Mediterranean Wild Flowers, Harper Collins Publishers, London

3)      Γ. Σφήκας (1999), Αγριολούλουδα της Κρήτης, εκδ. Efstathiadis Group, Ελλάδα

4)      Κυριακή Ζανέττου-Παντελή (2000), Η θεραπευτική δυνατότητα των φαρμακευτικών φυτών της Κύπρου, εκδ. Κυριακή Ζανέττου-Παντελή, Λάρνακα

5) [date accessed: 10/08/2009]

6)      IUCN (2009) IUCN Red List of Threatened Species [online] Available: [date accessed: 10/08/2009]