Cynara cardunculus

Today we are going to talk about a type of plant that, despite its appearance, is edible. It is the Cynara cardunculus. It is a plant that was already known to Greeks and Romans and aphrodisiac powers were granted. It receives the name of Cynara since it was the name of the girl seduced by Zeus and later was transformed into an artichoke. This plant is known by some common names such as wild artichoke, artichokes, artichoke thistle, reef thistle, rennet herb, bone thistle, milk thistle, among others.

In this article we are going to tell you about all the characteristics and properties that Cynara cardunculus has.

Main features

It is a type of perennial and perennial plant that has a fairly deep tuberous and pivoting root system. This allows it to be able to adapt to different temperature and drought conditions. This root system is composed of several roots that are main and originate from the initial root. The main root can reach up to seven meters in altitude. From these main roots there are other secondary ones that develop horizontally at different depths. They begin to emerge when the plant begins to develop at altitude and in the following years the replacement buds emerge from the periphery of the root.

This type of plant can re-develop from the replacement buds as new plants can form. This fact means that this species is not sown annually. In its first year it is capable of producing a rosette that contains large leaves with up to a meter in length between them. These leaves are deeply divided and are pinnate in type. It has a whitish and stormy underside and quite pronounced ribs.

When the plant is already developing in its second year, a stem appears from the center of the rosette that can measure up to a meter and a half and becomes unified in its upper part. As for the flowers, they are the ones that produce artichokes and have large purple flowers with a tubular shape. They are feathery and sessile flowers wrapped in oval practices. The fruit of this plant is an achene that has a dark brown color and a plume of silky consistency.

Distribution and habitat of Cynara cardunculus

This plant develops depending on the ecosystem where it is found. We can see that it develops mainly in borders and gutters. We can also find them in wastelands. Since it has the propagation of the seeds through the wind escapes from developing in growing areas as long as it has been propagated by the wind or by human intervention. It requires a long cool season, although it is sensitive to frost. This means that we will tell it mainly about ecosystems whose winters and autumns are longer and with not so low temperatures.

The Cynara cardunculus not tolerate waterlogging and soil prefers light and deep. This means that when it comes to watering it, you will have to be careful with puddles and the type of soil in which it is found. Normally I profile those soils that are limestone in nature and that can retain the subsoil water without becoming waterlogged. They need a lot of space between the implanted plants to be able to develop well and not disturb each other. As is to be expected of this type of plant with a great capacity for survival, it is a very invasive type of species. It grows for 10 months of the year and during winter they are capable of photosynthesis at low temperatures. The capacity that allows it to develop well and reach great distribution ranges are its long roots.

And it is that it has so much depth in the roots that it allows it to find water and even fertilizers leached from previous crops. Thanks to these roots they can find nutrients and water in a wider way. If the temperatures are very high during the summer time and the aerial part dries up, the roots can be kept cool so that the rest of the plant survives well. The survival success of this plant is due to the roots. It can be kept fresh with abundant reserve substances that guarantee the growth of the plant in the following spring.

Cynara cardunculus uses

This plant has various properties and as a result of them it can be used in various fields. We are going to analyze what its active principles are. One of the active principles is cynarin, which is usually accompanied by caffeic, chlorogenic and neochlorogenic acids. One of its active principles is concentrated green leaves that are before flowering.

One of the characteristics of this plant is that its sales can be consumed on stems. In order to consume them, it is necessary to bleach them by covering them in some way or by adding soil during development. The stems have to be prepared known and once the thorny skin that covers them is clean. The flower heads serve as edible as with the usual artichokes.

One of the properties for which the leaves stand out is that they lower the blood sugar content. Therefore, it can be used as a complementary treatment for people suffering from diabetes. One of its most demanded effects is the antisclerotic. It is used to make bitter drinks and liqueurs and the fresh juice is used externally for the treatment of eczema and skin eruptions.

Another use that can be given to Cynara cardunculus is for biodiesel and bioethanol. Thanks to its biomass, the oil extracted from the seeds can be used, which is similar to that of sunflower in composition. It can also be used in cosmetics and pharmacy. The flowers are used for their coagulating properties to make the curd of some traditional Iberian cheeses.

All the substances that this plant has are cholagogue substances and have a beneficial effect against diseases of the bile ducts and liver. As you can see, despite looking like a common thistle that has no use whatsoever, this plant is used quite well. I hope that with this information you can learn more about Cynara cardunculus.

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