I snapped this shot of Cardoon, a close relative of artichokes, while I was touring the UBC Botanical Garden in Vancouver. This plant was located in a section named the “Harold and Francis Holt Physic Garden” which contains a collection of plants used in early European pharmacopeia. So it was used way back when….
Today there is renewed interest in this plant, according to the Plants for a Future Database (http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Cynara+cardunculus)
“The cardoon has become important as a medicinal herb in recent years following the discovery of cynarin. This bitter-tasting compound, which is found in the leaves, improves liver and gall bladder function, stimulates the secretion of digestive juices, especially bile, and lowers blood cholesterol levels.”
All this and a wonderful flower !