The artichoke is a perennial plant in the thistle group of the daisy family. Also known as Globe artichoke, French artichoke, or Green artichoke, it is cultivated for its edible buds. The artichoke is domesticated from the wild plant cardoon, native to the Mediterranean area. Its origin dates back to about 500BC.
Having the scientific name Cynara Scolymus, the artichoke derives its common name from the northern Italian word articiocco. It belongs to the Asteraceae family that also includes thistles, sunflowers, and dandelions. It is grown as a perennial plant in warmer climates and as an annual plant in cooler regions. When grown as a perennial, it is planted in seed form, in late summer. Sometimes, it is also planted as a young plant in mid-autumn. As an annual, it is planted in spring.
The artichoke grows up to a height of 1.4 to 2m (4 ft 7 in to 6 ft 7 in), covering an area of about 6 ft (182.88 cm) in diameter. It has silvery, green leaves, deeply lobed and arched. The flower-head consists of many small budding flowers surrounded by bracts on an edible base. The artichoke becomes inedible once it blooms. When the buds mature, they burst open and the leaves splay outward. The blossoms are a beautiful lavender-blue in hue. The thistle-like blooms spread across 6 inches (15.24 cm) in diameter.
When the artichoke is grown as a vegetable, the bulbs should be picked before they bloom. Once the buds form large, tight globes, they should be cut along the stalk, which is edible, too. The edible portion of the plant consists of the tender core called the heart and the fleshy lower portion of the bracts. The artichoke takes about 6 months to grow before it can be harvested as food. It is a very powerful and nutritional plant. Artichokes are packed with Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Folate, Phosphorus, and Magnesium, high in fiber and low in fat. They can be served as a whole, in a salad, or as a dip. The artichoke has a nutty and buttery flavor.
Artichoke and its leaves have great medicinal values. They are said to lower blood sugar levels. They also help to improve digestion, heart health, and liver health.
Though the artichoke flowers are inedible, they help in pollination. The flowers, when allowed to remain on the plant, produce seeds. The seeds can be used to further harvest artichokes.
The artichoke flower makes a lovely addition to any garden if allowed to bloom. It lends an intriguing color and texture to bouquets and floral arrangements. The thistle retains its beauty for months even after drying out. Once the artichoke blooms, the leaves become tough and coarse, making it inedible. The flower has a light, lingering fragrance.
The artichoke flowers don’t bloom easily. To harvest them as flowers, great care has to be taken. Before the winter ends, the seeds need to be planted in containers with potting mix. The soil should not be allowed to dry out completely. The seeds germinate at 70 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit (21 to 23 degrees Celsius). Artichokes should be transplanted 3 to 4 weeks before the last frost date of the particular area, spaced 3 to 5 ft (91.44 to 152.4 cm) apart. They require watering every week. Applying mulch is a must but it should not touch the stems of the plants.
During the artichokes’ active growing period, fertilizer must be applied every 4 weeks. Usually, the buds develop in late summer, continuing until the particular area’s first frost date. When the buds open, they produce large purple or pink thistle. The artichoke flowers can be harvested by cutting them from the plant with a sharp knife. 2 to 3 inches (5.08 to 7.62 cm) of the stem should be left attached to the flower.
What do Artichoke flower symbolize?
From time immemorial, flowers have been used as symbols to represent values and traditions. The symbolism of a flower often gives an idea about its history. Flowers are an integral part of religious functions and auspicious occasions.
The artichoke flower meaning and symbolism represent hope and prosperity. In Ancient Greece and Rome, it was considered an aphrodisiac. In ancient Egyptian times, the flower was seen in writings as a symbol of fertility and sacrifice.
The artichoke flower meaning and symbolism have an interesting story attached to it. In Greek legend, this plant is believed to originate owing to God Zeus himself. It is so said that there lived a woman named Cynara. Once, while visiting his brother Poseidon, Zeus spotted her bathing on the shores of the ocean. Cynara did not seem at all bothered meeting the king of all gods. It intrigued and impressed Zeus very much. He turned her into an immortal goddess and took her to live on Mount Olympus. Cynara willingly went to live with Zeus, but soon, she became homesick. When she could not bear to live away from her home and family, anymore, she snuck off to visit them.
The act enraged Zeus who perceived it as a betrayal. He was self-assured, living eternally on Mount Olympus with him, was all she needed. In his anger, he struck her down from the mountain. It is said that when she hit the ground, Cynara turned into an artichoke. The plant owes its scientific name to this legend. This legend also gave it the symbolism of an aphrodisiac.
The artichoke flower meaning and symbolism can be interpreted in a multitude of ways. It has a meaty heart in the center protected by layers of strong leaves. To get to the soft, delicious flesh of the core, layers, and layers of protective scales have to be removed. This can be characterized as resilient, strong, and defiant.
What do the color of the Artichoke flower mean?
The colors of a flower add a deeper meaning to its symbolism. Knowing about what each color means for a flower can aid in times of gifting.
The artichoke flower meaning and symbolism get a much greater meaning by its color purple.
The purple color of the artichoke flower represents uniqueness and opulence, peace, and harmony.
The general artichoke flower meaning and symbolism are perfectly complimented by its color.
Interesting facts and characteristics of the Artichoke flower
· Artichokes are large, prickly ancient plants from the Mediterranean.
· They are grown both as perennial and annual plants.
· The edible layer is the flower bud yet to bloom.
· Artichokes can be grown all year round with peak season being spring and fall.
· Artichoke flowers do not grow fast. They require a long growing season with lots of sunshine and cool nights.
· They require moist soil that drains well.
· The recommended soil pH is 6.5 to 7.5.
· Artichoke plants are best suited for plant hardiness USDA zones 7 to 11.
· Artichokes need constant watering, preferably drip irrigation.
· They are heavy feeders and need high fertilizers rich in potassium and phosphorus.
· Too little or too much moisture in the soil weakens the stems of the artichokes.
· There are two primary types of artichokes: globe and elongated.
· Artichokes are some of the oldest known medicinal plants.
· Artichokes were first cultivated around the middle of the 15th century, at Naples.
· In 1806, French immigrants brought the artichokes to the United States.
· Artichokes are antioxidant-rich vegetables.
· Artichokes have very high fiber content. One artichoke has more fiber than an oat bran muffin or a cup of lima beans.
· They have been used as liver tonic throughout history.
· Artichokes lower cholesterol when ingested on a regular basis.
· They are a natural electrolyte due to the presence of high potassium and magnesium.
· Artichokes are non-toxic. They are overall safe to consume.
· People having allergic reactions to marigolds, ragweed, daisies, and chrysanthemums may have an allergic reaction to artichokes, too.
· They can be a choking hazard.
· Artichoke flowers can be used either as fresh or dried in floral arrangements and decorations.
· The artichoke flowers open to intriguing purple petals when left unpicked.
· In 1947, Marilyn Monroe was crowned as the first honorary Artichoke Queen for Castroville, California.
· The artichoke flower symbolizes peace in many countries such as Libya, Egypt, and Somalia.
· In 2013, Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom declared the artichoke as California’s official state vegetable.
· California grows nearly one hundred percent of artichokes for commercial purposes.
Best time to gift someone Artichoke flowers
The Artichoke flower meaning and symbolism make it a perfect gift when you want to make a unique statement. It is a great addition to bridal bouquets lending a rustic texture to the arrangements. Artichoke flowers are perfect as gifts when you want to convey the message to work hard and realize one’s dreams.
Having an almost shimmery lavender-blue center, the artichoke flower is a stunning sight to behold. When left to bloom on the plants, the flowers make for a dramatic display.