The Cardoon (Cynara cardunculus), also called the artichoke thistle, is a member of the thistle family related to the Globe artichoke. A relative of the artichoke, the growing characteristics and requirements are similar. While the flower buds can be eaten much as the artichoke, more often the the thick, fleshy leaf bases, hearts and roots are eaten after being blanched by being wrapped or buried in earth.
Cardoon requires a long (c. 5 month), cool growing season, but is frost-sensitive. It also typically requires substantial growing space per plant, and hence is not much grown save where it is regional favorite. The cardoon is highly invasive, and has become an important weed of the pampas in Argentina, and also in California because its adaptation to the dry climate; it is also considered a weed in Australia. The cardoons were first cultivated as a vegetable by the French and said to have been brought to America in the 1790s by the Quakers.
It's a good thing I like plants...