Cynara cardunculus

Cynara cardunculus_artichoke starthistle_JM DiTomaso
Photo courtesy Joseph DiTomaso

Common names: artichoke thistle; cardoon; wild artichoke

Cynara cardunculus (artichoke thistle) is a large perennial thistle (family Asteraceae) found below 500 m elevations throughout California, except in the Great Basin and Desert Regions. Artichoke thistle prefers disturbed open sites, including grassland, chaparral, coastal scrub, and riparian areas. This thistle is closely related to cultivated artichokes (Cynara scolymus), and the two species hybridize frequently. Artichoke thistle is also sometimes grown as an ornamental plant, and is available commercially. It reproduces by seed and sometimes by resprouting from root fragments. When attempting control by mechanical removal, most of the plant’s large taproot must be removed to avoid resprouting.

Cal-IPC Rating: Moderate

Cal-IPC Assessment

Plant Assessment Form - Information gathered by Cal-IPC on the impacts, rate of spread, and distribution of invasive plants in California. Does not include management information.

Weed RIC Management Notes

  • Management Notes - Information on management techniques and effectiveness from the University of California Cooperative Extension’s Weed Research & Information Center.

Cal-IPC Newsletter Articles

Cal-IPC Symposium Presentations

  • DeSimone, S. (2008). Exotic control and habitat enhancement in Southern Californian native grasslands at an Audubon California Preserve. California Invasive Plant Council Symposium 2008. Chico, CA, California Invasive Plant Council.
  • Dinkins, M. and D. Bieber (2008). The evolution of artichoke thistle (Cynara cardunculus) data management at Camp Pendleton, CA (1984-present). California Invasive Plant Council Symposium 2008. Chico, CA, California Invasive Plant Council.
  • Royall, M., M. Murdock, et al. (2007). Artichoke thistle (Cynara cardunculus) control efforts and community recovery in historic southern California rangeland. California Invasive Plant Council Symposium 2007. San Diego, CA, California Invasive Plant Council.
  • DeSimone, S. (2007). Non-chemical Exotic Control in Coastal Sage Scrub Restoration at an Audubon Preserve. California Invasive Plant Council Symposium 2007. San Diego, CA, California Invasive Plant Council.
  • Holt, J. S. (2006). Ecological approaches for weed management. Cal-IPC Symposium. Rohnert Park, CA.
  • Pirosko, C. and S. Schoenig (2004). Forbs working group. California Invasive Plant Council Symposium 2004. Ventura, CA.
  • Marushia, R. and J. S. Holt (2003). Patterns of seedling establishment in artichoke thistle, Cynara cardunculus. California Invasive Plant Council Symposium 2003. Kings Beach, CA.
  • White, V. A. and J. S. Holt (2003). Prediction of Cynara cardunculus seedling development using a degree-day approach. California Invasive Plant Council Symposium 2003. Kings Beach, CA.
  • White, V. A. and J. S. Holt (2002). Effect of competition on artichoke thistle, Cynara cardunculus. California Exotic Pest Plant Council Symposium 2002. Sacramento, CA.
  • Burrascano, C. (2001). Review of the impact of invasive weeds on two endangered plant species: Acanthomintha ilicifolia (San Diego thornmint) and Monardella linoides ssp. viminea (willowly monardella). California Exotic Pest Plant Council Symposium 2001. San Diego, CA.
  • White, V. A. and J. S. Holt (2001). Emergence and development of Cynara cardunculus: Developing seedling removal strategies for an invasive weed. California Exotic Pest Plant Council Symposium 2001. San Diego, CA.
  • White, V. A. and J. S. Holt (2001). Invasion into four plant communities by artichoke rhistle, Cynara cardunculus. California Exotic Pest Plant Council Symposium 2001. San Diego, CA.
  • White, V. A., J. S. Holt, et al. (1999). Development and management of artichoke thistle, Cynara cardunculus. California Exotic Pest Plant Council Symposium '99. Sacramento, CA.
  • Kelly, M. (1998). SWAT: Special weed action teams as ambassadors for education and energy. California Exotic Pest Plant Council '98 Symposium. Ontario, CA.
  • Carrithers, V. F. (1997). Using Transline* herbicide to control invasive plants. California Exotic Pest Plant Council Symposium '97. Concord, CA.
  • Kelly, M. and A. Pepper (1996). Controlling Cynara cardunculus (artichoke thistle, cardoon, etc.). California Exotic Pest Plant Council Symposium '96. San Diego, CA.
  • Tidwell, B. (1994). An artichoke thistle success story. CalEPPC Symposium '94. Sacramento, CA.

Other Cynara cardunculus Information

  • CalPhotos - Images of plants taken mostly in California.
  • Calflora - See the distribution of this species on Calflora's map of California.
  • CalWeedMapper - Distribution information with ability to determine regional priorities.
  • Jepson Online Interchange for California Flora - Information on taxonomy, biology, and distribution from UC Berkeley's Jepson Herbarium.
  • CDFA - California official noxious weeds.
  • USDA PLANTS Database - Federal database with information on identification and distribution, and links to websites in individual states.