Cynara cardunculus

Cynara cardunculus_artichoke starthistle_JM DiTomaso
Photo: 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: -*?


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 - Distribution map and records of this species in California.
  • CalWeedMapper - Distribution map of this species in California with ability to determine regional priorities.
  • EDDMapS - Distribution of this species in North America.
  • Jepson Interchange - Information on this plant's taxonomy, biology, and distribution from UC Berkeley's Jepson Herbarium.
  • USDA PLANTS Database - Information on identification and distribution, with links to websites in individual states.
  • Additional photos

    Cynara cardunculus_growth habit_copyright 2007_NealKramer
    Cynara cardunculus (artichoke thistle) growth habit. Photo: &#169 2007 Neal Kramer
    Cynara cardunculus_stem and leaf base_copyright 2008_NealKramer
    Cynara cardunculus (artichoke thistle) stem and leaf base. Photo: &#169 2008 Neal Kramer