According to legend, the artichoke was created when the smitten Greek god Zeus turned his object of affection into a thistle after being rejected.
Artichokes are a versatile food, and although some would consider them a vegetable, they are actually a variety of thistle. They are known in their natural form as cardoon, and their scientific classification is Cynara cardunculus. Native to the Mediterranean region, which is primarily why they play such a major part in their cuisine. There are more than 100 varieties of artichokes. This vegetable grows to 1.4–2 m tall, with arching, deeply lobed, silvery, glaucous-green leaves.
Artichokes are available in most markets with the peak months being March, April, and May.