Cynara cardunculus L.

Cardoon or Artichoke Thistle
Asteraceae (Sunflower Family)

Cardoon or artichoke thistle is a robust, thistlelike perennial growing 3-6' tall, with spiny pinnatifid or bipinnatifid alternate leaves the undersides of which are covered with a white wool and solitary globose purple-flowered heads.  It is occasionally naturalized in low and disturbed places and is native to the Mediterranean region.  It is a noxious weed and may be found anywhere in the California Floristic Province, blooming from May to July.  It is sometimes called wild artichoke, and like its relative (Cynara scolymus), the less-tough interior leaves are often cooked to make a soup. These pictures were taken at Arroyo Sequit in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, but I have also seen it in the Upper La Jolla Valley and East Canyon in the Santa Clarita Woodlands.
Click here for Latin name derivations: 1) Cynara 2) cardunculus.
Pronunciation: sy-NAR-a kar-DUNK-yoo-lus.
Click here for Botanical Term Meanings.