Thursday, 13 March 2014


A Profile of the

The Artichoke
Cynara cardunculus syn Cynara scolymus and
 Traditionally the artichoke has been considered to date back to Ancient Greece or Rome, more recently the development of the artichoke has been advanced to the 10th or 11th centuries.  Sicily is considered to be the most likely centre of origin, a location where there was certainly a thriving Arabic horticultural tradition (Sonnante 2007).
It is difficult to pinpoint a location for the domestication of the artichoke, however its wild ancestors are found throughout the Mediterranean region (Zohary 1975)


Iberian peninsula

The Gardeners Labrynth Thomas Hill
England (London)
Richard Gardner “Profitable instructions for the manuring, sowing, and planting of kitchin gardens
England (Shrewsbury)
Table 1 a list of combined culinary/horticultural texts and archaeological evidence for the presence of at specific times and regions.

Cultivation of the artichoke
Thomas hill describes the cultivation of artichokes from side shoots, a process which has changed little.

“Artichokes come of young plants taken from old stock…And when you would take the plants from the stock, dig the earth away half a foot deep about the stock, and pull the earth clean from the stock; Then thrust your thumbs between the stock and the plant, and slive them off, keeping the bottom whole and unbroken

Harvesting them
Thomas Hill
“You must gather your Artichokes (cutting them almost a foot from the ground) when their to beginneth to open a little; and with your foot break off the stalk left on the ground”

Richard Gardener an author also writing around the same period gives almost identical instructions, he does go to give instructions on how to produce large quantities of Artichoke slips (or cuttings) for sale by planting slightly below the surface in a hillock.

  • The Cultivated Artichoke: Cynara scolymus Its Probable Wild Ancestors Author(s): Daniel Zohary and Jehuda Basnizky Source: Economic Botany, Vol. 29, No. 3 (Jul. - Sep., 1975), pp. 233-235 Published by: Springer on behalf of New York Botanical Garden Press Stable URL: Accessed: 09/02/2010 00:22

  • Economic Botany and Ethnobotany in Al-Andalus (Iberian Peninsula: Tenth-Fifteenth Centuries), an Unknown Heritage of Mankind Author(s): J. Esteban Hernández Bermejo and Expiración García Sánchez Source: Economic Botany, Vol. 52, No. 1 (Jan. - Mar., 1998), pp. 15-26 Published by: Springer on behalf of New York Botanical Garden Press

  • SONNANTE G, PIGNONE D,HAMMER K 2007, The Domestication of Artichoke and Cardoon: From Roman Times to the Genomic Age, Annals of Botany 1–6, available online at
  • Gardiner, R 1599 “Profitable instructions for the manuring, sowing, and planting of kitchin gardens Very profitable for the commonwealth and greatly for the helpe and comfort of poore people. Gathered by Richard Gardner of Shrewsburie”. , Impinrted [sic] at London : By Edward Allde for Edward White, dwelling at the little north doore of Paules at the signe of the Gunne,   Bib name / number: STC (2nd ed.) / 11570.5 Physical description: [32] p. Copy from: Henry E. Huntington Library and Art Gallery Acessed by EEBO

Hill, T, 1586. “     The gardeners labyrinth containing a discourse of the gardeners life, in the yearly trauels to be bestowed on his plot of earth, for the vse of a garden: with instructions for the choise of seedes, apt times for sowing, setting, planting, and watering, and the vessels and instrumentes seruing to that vse and purpose: wherein are set forth diuers herbers, knots and mazes, cunningly handled for the beautifying of gardens. Also the phisicke benefite of eche herbe, plant, and floure, with the vertues of the distilled waters of euery of them, as by the sequele may further appeare. Gathered out of the best approued writers of gardening, husbandrie, and phisicke: by Dydymus Mountaine”. , Printed at London : By Iohn VVolfe, 1586.
Bib name / number: STC (2nd ed.) / 13487
Copy from: Henry E. Huntington Library and Art Gallery

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