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

CDFA Rating: B*

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.

Species ID Card

Invasive Species ID Card - To support field identification of early detection species, Cal-IPC has designed a set of Species ID cards that can be downloaded, printed double-sided, and trimmed to size.

Weed 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

Presentations are linked where available. Where a presentation is not available, find more information by reading the abstract in the Cal-IPC Symposia Archive.

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.
  • EDDMapS - North American distribution based on Early Detection and Distribution Mapping System.