This gorgeous thistle-like plant called artichoke, said to be favored by the Greek god Zeus, comes in a dozen varieties and they are found all over the world.
Three unrelated plants share the same name – Globe, Jerusalem and Chinese or Japanese Artichoke. But Globe Artichoke is what’s considered a true artichoke and it has two main types only: Green Globe and Imperial Star.
The Green Globe variety has buds that are four inches big with hardy, petal-shaped, purple-hued leaves. Its scales are thick, fleshy and highly flavorful.
Green Globe artichokes grow as tall as 1.8 meters and as wide as 2.4 meters. They are also productive, producing crops in their first year. It is practically the only kind grown commercially in the United States, specifically in California’s mid-coast region.
Compared to Green Globe artichokes, Imperial Star is mild. It is actually a hybrid globe variety which has been created only in 1991.
It also has a shade of purple like the Green Globe, but is primarily green in color. Imperial Star also does not have thorns like other artichokes nor does it need as much vernalization as the Green Globe cultivar.
Imperial Star is also said to have a sweeter flavor, more tender and can be sowed, cultivated and harvested in just one season. It’s more practical to plant this artichoke variety – their fast growth makes it difficult for pests and other diseases to establish themselves and cause damage.
Grown all year round in variable climates, Imperial Star is being cultivated in the desert areas of Arizona and California and the south coast region of California.
Other market varieties of artichokes include Camus, Purple Artichokes, Poivrade, Spiny, Green Laon, Blanc Hyérois, Emerald among others. Their names were based on the size of each variety and from the specific region and country where they are being cultivated.
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