by Stephen Mifsud
   2 Mar 2024      ()
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Cynara cardunculus   (Wild Artichoke)

Cynara cardunculus  (ASTERACEAE.) 
Images for this profile are taken from the Maltese Islands after year 2000.

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Profile Date Dec-2007 (taxon update: none)
Citation for this page Mifsud, S. (2022). Cynara cardunculus - datasheet created on Dec-2007. Retrieved from on 02-Mar-2024

Nomenclature and Basic Information

Species name :

Cynara cardunculusL.
Published in Sp. Pl. : 827 (1753)

Synonyms :
(basionym or principal syn.)

Cynara corsica Viv.
Full list of synonyms : [Euro+Med] [PlantList] [IPNI] [POWO] [Catalogue of Life] []

Plant Family :

Asteraceae Bercht. & J.Presl (=Compositae) (The Daisy or Sunflower Family)
123 species from the Asteraceae family are recorded from the Maltese Islands.

English name(s) :

Wild Artichoke, Cardoon

Maltese name(s) :

Qaqoċċ tax-xewk, Qaqoċċ selvaġġ

Status for Malta :

Indigenous. Present on the Maltese islands before man

Frequency :

Very Common     Common    Frequent    Scarce     Rare    Very rare    Extinct

Growth form :

Raunkiaer lifeform [info]: HEMICRYPTOPHYTE ( prostate plants with flowers close to the ground )
Germination [info]: Dicotyledon

Legal Protection :

Not legally protected till the last update of this website (2/Mar/2022)

Red List (1989) :

Not listed in the Red Data Book of the Maltese Islands

Flowering Time :

April – June

Colour of Flowers:

Blue or Violet


Not particularly toxic

Name Derivation :


Planting in rural areas :

Can be planted in rural areas according to ERA Guidelines

Description, Habitat and Distribution
Habitat in Europe: Stony or waste places and dry grassland, mainly on clay soils.
Preferred habitat in Malta: Clayey soil, mostly in hill slopes, abandoned fields, steppe, and coastal ground
Botanical Description: Stems 20-100 cm, lanate. Leaves up to 50 x 35 cm, subcoriaceous, bright green and shortly tomentose above, white-tomentose beneath; segments ovate to linear-lanceolate, with rigid, yellow spines 15-35 mm at apex and clustered at base; lower leaves petiolate, the uppermost sessile. Involucre 45-60 x 40-55 mm, ovoid-globose; involucral bracts ovate to elliptical, gradually or abruptly narrowed into an erecto-patent spine 10-50 x 2-6 mm, glaucescent or purplish. Corolla blue, lilac or whitish. Achenes 6-8 x 3-4 mm, shiny, brown-spotted; pappus 25-40 mm.
Chromosome number: 2n=34
Distributional range: S. & W. parts of Mediterranean region and S. Portugal

Distributional map in Europe
and the Mediterranean region (2018):
Occurrences in Europe.
(from Flora Europaea pre year 1993):
the Balaeric Islands, Corse, Crete, France (incl. Monaco and Channel Islands but excluding Corse), Greece, Spain (incl. Andorra but excl. the Balaerics), Italy (excl. Sicily and Sardignia), Portugal, Sardinia, Sicily and/or Malta
Occurrences in Europe and the Mediterranean region.
(from Euro+Med Checklist, 2019)
  Country codes  
? Ag Bl(M) dCa Ca(C F G L P T) Co Cr Ct dCy Ga(F) Gr Hs(S) It Li Lu Ma dMd(D M P) Sa Si(M S) Tn [cAb(A) nAE(G) Al cAu aBe cBH nBl(I M N) Br aCa(H) aCo Cr Ct cCy aGe cGr aHb(E) aHe cHo Hs(A) cIJ cIr cLe cLS cMo cRf(S) cRm Sa cSi cSk cTcs Tu nTu(A) cUk(K U)]

Links & Further literature (0 papers)

Google Web

Google Images

Google Scholar

Research Gate




Med Checklist

Cat. of Life



World Flora Online

Plants of the World Online

Vienna Virt. Herb.

RBGE Herbarium

KEW Herbarium




Kindly Email if there are papers and publications about local studies or information about this species to be included in the list above.

Species Images (9 images)
   Cynara cardunculus   -   Image Code: CYNCA-0.
   Cynara cardunculus   -   Image Code: CYNCA-1.
   Cynara cardunculus   -   Image Code: CYNCA-2.
   Cynara cardunculus   -   Image Code: CYNCA-3.
   Cynara cardunculus   -   Image Code: CYNCA-4.
   Cynara cardunculus   -   Image Code: CYNCA-5.
   Cynara cardunculus   -   Image Code: CYNCA-6.
   Cynara cardunculus   -   Image Code: CYNCA-7.
   Cynara cardunculus   -   Image Code: CYNCA-8.

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