Taxonomy of the Artichoke (Cynara scolymus L., 1753) according to Cronquist System

Superdominium/Superdomain: Biota
Superkingdom or Domain: Eukaryotae Whittaker et Margulis, 1978
Kingdom: Plantae Haeckel, 1866
Subkingdom: Viridaeplantae Cavalier-Smith, 1981
Superdivision: Spermatophyta
Division or Phylum: Tracheophyta Sinnott, 1935 ex Cavalier-Smith, 1998
Division or Phylum: Spermatophytina Cavalier-Smith, 1998
Class: Rosopsida Batsch, 1788
Subclass: Asteridae Takht., 1967
SuperOrder: Asteranae Takht., 1967
Order: Asterales
Family: Asteraceae Martynov, 1820
Subfamily: Cynaroideae (Durande) Chevall., 1828
Tribe: Cynareae Lam. et DC., 1806 or Cardueae Cass., 1819
Subtribe: Carduinae (Cass.) Dumort., 1827
Genus: Cynara L. (1753)
Species: Cynara scolymus L. (1753)

Taxonomy of the Artichoke (Cynara scolymus L., 1753) according to the APG II System
Eudicots James A. Doyle and Carol L. Hotton, 1991
Core Eudicots or Core Tricolpates
Asterales Lindl., 1833
Asteraceae Martynov, 1820
Carduoideae Cass. ex Sweet, 1826
Cynareae Lam. & DC., 1806 or Carduea Cass., 1819
Genus: Cynara L. (1753)
Species: Cynara scolymus L. (1753)

Origin of artichoke. Economic and statistic data
The artichoke has been considered, since the ancient times, a plant of divine origin: you are enough to think that mythology attributes the creation of the artichoke to Jupiter. The founder of the gods Hellenic, in fact, of a young girl was fallen in love by the hair colour ash named Cynara which gave the immortality turning into plant.
The connection with the Greek mythology is not casual if it is considered that this plant is held native of the Countries of the Basin of the oriental Mediterranean, included the Aegean islands, Cyprus and understood northern Africa Ethiopia where, spontaneous other kinds of the kind are still, found Cynara .
The middle-oriental origin would be shown by the Arabic etimo - Spanish "harsciof" or "to the - kharshuf" that it means thorny plant, wild. In the gardens of the Greek and the Romans of the artichoke they were, generally, cultivated only few plants. Even if the artichoke is named by some Greek, Latins and Hebrews writers, nevertheless, it is not certain that such it plants corresponds to the actual artichoke, that would have been introduced in West by the Arabs diffusing in Italy around the XV century. The artichoke almost certainly originates from the thistle and their common origins they bring us in the North Africa and in Egypt. The plant was already known by the ancient Romans as Cynaraz , while for the ancient Greek it was Kinara, which attributed an aphrodisiac effect to the plant, perhaps reporting himself/herself/itself to the attractiveness of the nymph Cynara. According to the mythology, the beautiful nymph from the hair colour ash, not to have granted to the powerful Jupiter it was turned into a thorny plant: the artichoke. The artichoke has always been in partnership, sees its form, to the unsociable people and "thorny", nevertheless from the tender heart. In the Middle Age the artichoke was not known "modern". With a lot of probability, the horticulturists of that period have taken back or probably continued the initiated selection by the etruscans, selecting the plants and trying to transform the wild artichoke - or the thistle - in artichoke "modern". For centuries ignored by the mass, it will return to the footlights at the end of the Middle Age following thick importations from Africa and more precisely from Ethiopia.
According to some documents, the artichoke seems to have arrived in Tuscany before and therefore in Veneto. In the XVI century starts to spread in Sicily, where it finds an ideal climate. In Sicily the artichoke knows a wide diffusion, so much to be employed in a lot of island gastronomic preparations, with the name of cap˛zzula, consequential from caput - the head - or the head of the artichoke to be cut. The wild artichoke is sold in the island already boiled in the stands to the angles of the roads and it is consumed in the moments of break, as sprouts or as it excuses for drinking a good glass of wine. The tradition wants that has been Caterina Dei Medici, on the occasion of the marriage with Henry II of France, to spread the use of the artichokes in the kitchen. You says that also Luigi XIV, said "king alone", it loved to consume artichokes. You knows that in the second halves 1400 was introduced in Naples and Florence. According to Mattioli - studious senese, physician, botanical, translator and commentator of texts of ancient pharmacology, one of the first natural scientists of Europe risen by the Middle Ages - in 1500 the artichoke had already spread in the whole Tuscany. They were the Dutch to introduce the artichokes in England, while the Spaniards and French introduced them in America, in the century XVIII, more precisely in the territories of the actual California and Louisiana, where today the thistles are considered as an infesting plant.
The improvement of the cultivations of this plant is initiated in southern Italy; it results, in fact, that the artichoke was brought in 1466 from Naples to Florence for work of Strozzi. Toward halves Five hundred the artichoke had a great success and diffusion in England with Henry VIII, even if it was rare food because of its redoubt cultivation. In the Renaissance the artichoke started to appear in more regular way on the tables of the rich ones thanks to the appreciation of Caterina Dei Medici, that the diffused ones in France when queen of French became. In the XIX century in Italy this kind was not only appreciated for its nourishing characteristics, but also for its therapeutic ownerships considering that you/he/she was used for taking care of illnesses to the epoch it spread (scurvy, jaundices and liver affections, rheumatisms etc.). To the beginning of the 1900 the to spread some crop in Italy - to which were more and more reserved areas of cultivation ample - it made some artichoke a food accessible to everybody, also to the least well-to-do ones. Up to the term of the first world war the cultivation of the artichoke in Italy had a limited development, being this product destined to the family consumption or at the most to the local markets. The crop also spreads in the United States (California and Florida) work of the Italian emigrants and French that were also the principal consumers. A great diffusion of the crop is had with the works of reclamation of the thirties. In 1929, according to the statistics of the agrarian inventory, in Italy the cultivated surface to artichoke was, in fact, of around 12.600 hectares to a large extent assembled in insular and central, while more modest Italy it was the crop in the north and in the south Italy.
Subsequently, at the end of the second world war, the artichoke has suffered a notable increase so much to reach to halves the years '60 a surface of around 60.000 have with notable increases in southern Italy. Subsequently, with the always great specialization of the crop, to the concentration of the surfaces a notable increase of the surrenders is corresponded. Currently the crop of the artichoke in Italy interests a surface of around 50.000 hectares, with an annual total production around 5 million quintals. Italy contributes to 50% around of the world production of the artichoke, predominantly assembled (80% around) in the Countries that lean out in the basin of the Mediterranean (Italy, Spain, France, Algeria and Morocco).
The diffusion of the artichoke in the Sele’s Plain goes up again at the end of the years '20, thanks to the vast works of reclamation and deep agrarian transformation brought by the land reform. Traces of the presence of the artichoke in the Sele’s Plain it is already signalled in 1811 by the statistics of the Kingdom in Naples (Cassese 1955) and in 1949 from the memories of economic geography of Migliorini. The description more deepened of the diffusion, of the importance and potentiality of the cultivation of the artichoke in the Sele’s Plain has been made from Brown in 1960, that it makes reference to the "Artichoke of Castellammare" as cultivated variety, quoted subsequently by other Authors as synonym of the new denomination "Round Artichoke of Paestum" (Marzi, 1967; Dellacecca et al., 1976; Magnifico, 1987). The first growers of this kind were agriculturists of the Naples country that, moved him to the zone, they installed the "carducci" really in the adjacent fields the famous temples of Paestum, inside the ancient city, as from historical memory of the old agriculturists.
First give experiences near the temples, thanks to the particular and favorable conditions pedoclimatiche of the zone influenced by the action mitigatrice of the Tyrrhenian Sea, that from origin to in climate had been characterizing for mild winters, fresh-damp springs and warm-dry (Mediterranean climate) summers, as well as to the particular interest shown by the market for this kind, the cultivation of the artichoke you/he/she is extended in all the Plain of Paestum and over, also interesting other zones of the Plain one of the Sele. In Campania Region, in 1929, the cultivated surface to artichoke was of 818 it has, for a production of 80.566 q with an average of 98,5 q/ha.
Subsequently, after the second world war, a notable increase of this crop is had so much that, in the quinquennio 1962-1966, the interested middle surface to artichoke was of 2.782 hectares with a middle production of 333.546 quintals (surrender for hectare of 120 quintals). This increase, in comparison to the 1929 data, concerned really the area that interests the "Artichoke of Paestum" as it underlined in the 1967 Jannacone: "In Campania the artichoke is almost entirely disappeared by the firms of the traditional horticultural areas to move to others, especially in the Sele Plane, which is characterized by a modern irrigated agriculture". In that epoch, the principal zones of cultivation of the artichoke in the province of Salerno (Capaccio, Eboli, Agropoli, Pontecagnano Faiano and Battipaglia) interested with the variety commonly called "Round of Paestum".
Beginning from the last years sixty, the artichoke surface in Campania they suffered an increase reaching around the 3.200 hectares at the end of 1976; in the following decade they were attested of few below 3.000 hectares to definitely settle in around the actual 2.300 of which him 80% are assembled in the agricultural firms of the Sele’s Plain. The great specialization of the crop, as for the other national areas of cultivation of the artichoke, it has brought to the reduction of the agricultural total surface and the doubling of the surrenders, that are currently around 195 q/ha, against the 85 q/ha some preceding epochs.

The awakening of the artichoke cultivation through sprinkling is a technique that is applied in the methodology of field forcing. The "tondo di Paestum" is a local population of artichoke that derives from the type "romanesco".

A very interesting type of artichoke is the “artichoke of Paestum” (IGP), a vegetal crop product Italian to Protected Geographical Indication.

The Protected Geographical indication "Artichoke of Paestum" it designates the capolinis of the referable biotipis to the type "Romanesco", also said "Round of Paestum." The product must have the followings requisite:
• middle (no more than 4 capolinis with stem for kg of product) pezzatura;
• capolini of form sub.sferica, compact, with characteristic hole to the apex; with diameter of the section maximum transversal understood between 8,5 and 10,5 cm of inclusive diameter of the longitudinal maximum section between 7,5 and 12,5 cm, and with relationship among the two inclusive among 0,9 and 1,2 cm;
• green color, with tone violet-pink;
• oval external brattee, with rounded off apex and engraved, unarmed;
• inside brattee paglierino.verdastre with violet tones;
• shank of inferior length to 10 cm.

The zone of production of the "Artichoke of Paestum” includes the following countries of Salerno:
o Agropoli
o Albanella
o Altavilla Silentina
o Battipaglia
o Bellizzi
o Campagna
o Capaccio
o Cicerale
o Eboli
o Giungano
o Montecorvino Pugliano
o Ogliastro Cilento
o Pontecagnano Faiano
o Serre
The zone is delimited in details in the disciplinary one of production.

Origin of the artichoke of Paestum
The diffusion of the artichoke in the valley of the Sele goes up again at the end of the years '20 of the century last graces to the vast works of reclamation and deep agrarian transformation brought by the land reform. Traces of the presence of the artichoke in the plain one of the Sele are already signalled in 1811 by the statistics of the Kingdom in Naples (Leopoldo Cassese, The "statistic of the Kingdom in Naples of the 1811. The report on the Province of Salerno, 1955) and in 1949 from the memories of economic geography of Elio Migliorini.
The description more deepened of the diffusion, of the importance and potentiality of the cultivation of the artichoke in the Plain one of the Sele has been made by the Brown ones in 1960, that it makes reference to the "Artichoke of Castellammare of Stabia" as cultivated variety, quoted subsequently by other authors as synonym of the new denomination "round Artichoke of Paestum." The first growers of this kind were agriculturists of the Neapolitan that, moved him to the zone, they installed the carduccis (scions of artichoke) really in the adjacent fields the famous temples of Paestum.
In Campania, in 1929, the cultivated surface to artichoke was of 818 ha, for a production of 80.566 quintals with an average of 9.850 kg/ha. Subsequently, after the second world war, a notable increase of this crop is had so much that, in the 1962-1966, the interested middle surface to artichoke passed to 2.782 have really thanks to the increase of surface in the area of the "Artichoke of Paestum". Jannacone in 1997 underlined: "It is to notice that in Campania the artichoke is almost entirely disappeared by the firms of the traditional agricultural areas to move to others, especially in the lowland of the Sele. Currently the surface invested to artichoke is attested on 2.300 have of which the 80% in the plain one of the Sele. Today the product represents also a production of point in the considered area thanks to the acquired notoriety. Insofar, to avoid imitations and usurpations of the denomination will be guaranteed the traceability of the product, thanks to a list of the cultivated grounds of the producers and the productions that you/they will be checked by a special organism of control.

The cultivation of the artichoke begins with the consistent operations of plant in an accurate preparation of the ground that foresees a deep ploughing, a burial of the fertilizers leading e/o organic substance, one or two work by harrow and a definitive levelling of the soil surface. Subsequently the transplantation happens, between on July 15 and on August 31 using seedlings with earth's bread raised in alveoli, coming from proper or specialized hatcheries, or between on September 1║ and on September 30 using “carducci” directly withdrawn by the mother plants. The artichoke field must have maintained in cultivation for no more than three years. The forms of cultivation must be those in use generalized in the zone, with an order of plant of 110-120 cm among the lines and of 80-90 cm on the line for a maximum investment of 10.000 plants for hectare. The harvest must be effected in the inclusive period among on February 1║ and on May 20. The production unitary of "artichoke of Paestum" it has fixed thin to a maximum of 50 000 artichoke flower head per hectare. The operations of selection, of calibration and of washing, according to the techniques already acquired locally, it must have effected in the situated establishments within the whole territory of the reverting communes in the zone of production of the "artichoke of Paestum." To the goals of the admission to the consumption, to defer its sale, the product can be preserved in local fit and eventually to checked temperature, not superior to 4 centigrade degrees, for once maximum of 72 hours.

Conditions for the cultivation of the "artichoke of Paestum"
The soil and climate conditions of the area, characterized by a Mediterranean climate typically with mild and rainy winters, warm and dry summers and deep and fertile soils created by the alluvial deposits of the river Sele, promote the cultivation of the artichoke for immemorial times. In more recent times the artichoke has assumed importance of income crop thing that has favored a notable increase of the cultivated surfaces and a notable specialization in subject from the local producers. The "artichoke of Paestum" it distinguishes him in comparison to other productions of artichoke for innumerable qualities and typical characteristics (big size, sub-round form, pleasant taste), fruit of an accurate technique of cultivation debugging from the agriculturists of the Plain’s Sele. It is a local type coming from the group of the artichokes type "Romanesco". From these it distinguishes for a series of peculiar characteristics conferred by the environment of cultivation. First of all the precocity that allows the "artichoke of Paestum" to be already present on the market February before every other type of artichoke of the type "Romanesco." Besides, the precocity, in reference to the period of production (February-May) characterized by a fresh and rainy climate, that confers particularly great tenderness and delicacy to the flower head to the basal part of the flowe-head leaves and the fleshiest and savory receptacle, important characteristics for the varied culinary destinations.
The immission to the consumption of the "Artichoke of Paestum" it must happen according to the following formalities:
• the product must be sets on sale in special rigid containers, from a minimum of 2 flower heads to a maximum of 24;
• on the marked wrappings to IGP, or on the labels affixed on the same ones, it must have brought, to clear and legible characters of press, of the same dimensions, the following indications: a) "Artichoke of Paestum" and "Protected Geographical Indication" (or his initials IGP); b) the name, the social reason and the address of the confectioning and/or manufacturing firm; c) the quantity of indeed contained product in the wrapping, express in conformity to the norms in force; d) the graphic symbol, related to the artistic image of the specific and univocal logotype, to use in inseparable combining with the Protected Geographical Indication. The characters of (b) must be of inferior dimensions to those of (a);
• the products for whose elaboration is used as raw material the "Artichoke of Paestum" IGP also for the processes of elaboration and transformation, the consumption it can be introduced to in wrappings bringing the reference to said denomination, without the apposition of the community logo, to condition that: 1) the "Artichoke of Paestum" certified IGP as such, constitutes the exclusive component of the market category of affiliation; 2) the utilizzatoris of the "Artichoke of Paestum" IGPs are authorized at the holders of the right of intellectual ownership conferred by the recording of the denomination "Artichoke of Paestum" IGP gathered in consortium entrusted of the guardianship from the Office of the Agriculture and Forest Politics;
• the same entrusted consortium will also provide to enroll them in special registers and to watch over on the correct use of the protected denomination;
• in absence of the consortium of guardianship entrusted the aforesaid functions will be developed by the Office of the Agriculture and Forest Politics in how much national authority preceded to the realization of the rule EEC n. 2081/92;
• the non exclusive use of the "Artichoke of Paestum" IGP allows only his/her reference, according to the normative in force, among the ingredients of the product that it contains or in which is transformed or elaborate. To the Protected Geographical Indication it is forbidden the addition of any different additional qualification from those anticipated from the disciplinary present, including the following adjectives: type, taste, use, select, and similar.
Nevertheless the use of indications is allowed that does firms reference, names, social reasons, deprived marks, consortia, not having laudatory meaning and not fit to deceive the buyer.
Such indications can be brought in label with non superior characters of height and width to halves those used for pointing out the Protected Geographical indication.

With the creation of the logotype IGP "Artichoke of Paestum", to the senses of the rule EEC n. 2081/92, are wanted to recall the narrow bond between the artichoke and the place (area around the temples of Paestum) where for the first time cultivated has been.
The graphic symbol is, in fact, composed by an image of the Temple of Neptune site to Paestum surrounded by a sky of color (cyan 80% and Magenta 25%) and consequently fallen through by clouds of foundation and by small segments of vegetation coloured by a mixture of cyan (40%), magenta (40%), yellow (70%) and black (40%), with an oscillation to lower of the 30% of magenta and the 25% of black.
The image of the Temple of Neptune appears surrounded in an oval form and externally contained by an edging constituted by a double line (inside of colour black and external of colour Pantone Green CVP). The double line is interrupted to around 3/4 by the superior side of the same oval from a wording "Artichoke of Paestum" of black colour and of character "Times".
In the part low-centered of the image of the temple an oval of white colour it is set on which leans the image of the artichoke of Paestum whose stem interrupts him on the line of external edging of colour Pantone Green CPV. Both the images (Temple of Neptune and Artichoke of Paestum) are been created through the overlap of four colours: cyan, magenta, yellow and black.
For the realization of the logo the colours has necessarily been stamped on a white fund.

Consortium of guardianship
The organisms proponents of the I.G.P. they have been:
• Cooperative "Liberty 88", via Chiorbo - 84063 Paestum Capaccio; phone: 0828 813054;
• Cooperative "Paestum", via Spiazzo - 84063 Paestum Capaccio; phone/fax 0828 721004;
• Cooperative "Venere", via Magna Grecia, 13 - 84063 Paestum Capaccio , phone/fax 0828 724719.

Control's organism
• IS.ME.CERT - Mediterranean Institute of Certification Food Farming.

A practice adopted of cultivation is the forcing of the artichoke field.

Forcing of the artichoke field
The artichoke is a typical plant of the Mediterranean environments. Its natural cycle is autumn-spring: to the first autumn rains the gems of the rhizome wake up again him and they send forth new throws. The first flower heads are issued toward the end in the winter, beginning from the month of February. In late spring the plant goes to rest and the plants desiccate the whole aerial part.
In the warmest zones of the Mediterranean regions the artichoke is cultivated with a technique of forcing that has the purpose to anticipate the production of flower heads to the autumn period.
The technique consists of forcing the awakening during the summer: from the rhizomes of a preceding crop the shots are withdrawn and after a phase of preshoting they have put to abode from the second halves June in then, making to follow a plentiful irrigation.
In this way vegetative activity has beginning in full summer, with flower differentiation in the month of September and production of the flower heads of first cut in the months of October and November.
The forcing of the artichoke produces only results in the reflowering cultivars, and in every way it is cause of situations of biological stress that depresses the longevity of the artichoke cultivation.
For this motive the forced artichoke cultivation are conducted in annual, biennial or triennial crop. After the second or third year the percentage of thinning out is such from the new planting of the artichoke cultivation to economically make more advantageous.

Table - Energetic, chemical, biochemist, mineral and nutritional parameters of the artichoke.
Energy Value
Calories from proteins (%)
Calories from carbohydrates (%)
Calories from fats (%)
Chemical composition Amount
Edibile part (%)
Water (g)
Proteins (g)
Carbohydrates (g)
• of which
- soluble (g) sugars
- starch (g)
Fat (g)
• of which
- saturated (g)
- monounsaturated (g)
- polysaturated (g)
Total Fiber (g)
Cholesterol (g)
Alcohol (g)
Phytic acid (mg)



Vitamins Amount
Thiamin (vitamin B1) (in mg)
Riboflavin (vitamin B2) (in mg)
Niacin (vitamin B3) (in mg)
Vitamin A (Retinol eq.) (in g)
Vitamin C (in mg)
Vitamin E (in mg)
Amino acids mg/100 g of
Edible part
g/100 g
of protein
Aspartic acid
Glutamic acid
Chimical Index
Threshold Aminoacid
Fatty acids Amount in g
Total satured fatty acids
- C4:0¸C10:0 (laurico)
- C12:0 (lauric)
- C14:0 (myristic)
- C16:0 (palmitic)
- C18:0 (stearic)
- C20:0 (arachidic)
- C22:0 (behenic)
Total monosatured fatty acids
- C14:1 (miristoleic)
- C16:1 (palmitoleic)
- C18:1 (oleic)
- C20:1 (eicosaenoic)
- C22:1 (erucic)
Total polyunsatured fatty acids
- C18:2 W6 (linoleic)
- C18:3 W3 (linolenic)
- C20:4 W6 (arachidonic)
- C20:5 W3 (eicosapentaenoic-EPA)
- C22:6 W3 (docosaesaenoic-DHA)
Polyunsatured/Satured Rate


Minerals Amount in mg
Biological substances of the artichoke with biological actions
1 - pectin
2 - mucilages
3 - tannins
• hydrolizable tannins
• • gallotannins and ellagitannins
• condensed tannins
• • procyanidins e proanthocyanidins
• tannoids
4 – ferulic acid
5 - caffeilchinic acids
• caffeic acid
• chlorogenico acid(3-monocaffeilchinic acid)
• cynarin (1,5-dicaffeilchinico acid)
6 - flavonoids
• scolinoside
• cynaroside
7 – sesquiterpenic lattons
• cynaropicrin
8 - enzyms
• luteoline
• inulase
• invertase
• oxydase
• cynarase
• protease

The empty fields indicate that the values are not available related to that nourishing, nevertheless they don't exclude the presence of it.
The fields that contain 0.00, indicate instead the total absence of that nourishing.


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