This perennial plant can grown either as an ornamental artichoke or for its edible leaf stalks. Cardoon grows at least 4 feet tall with huge silvery-green, deeply-cut leaves and thistle-like, purple flowers. The silvery-grey, fleshy stalks of the inner leaves are eaten. Thick stems, steamed and seasoned, are an old-world treat. Unopened flower buds make unusual cut flowers.
This artichoke is for gardeners who can’t overwinter artichokes or just want to grow them as an annual. The 6-8 buds of Imperial Star are nearly spineless, upto 3-4 inches in diameter, globe shaped, and a rich glossy green. Imperial Star has the same rich flavor as Green Globe. Will perennialize in areas above zone 7.