Long before the artichoke was developed, the ancient Greeks and Romans regarded the cardoon as a great delicacy. It was first described in the 4th century BC by the Greek writer Theophrastus, who stated that it was a native of Sicily. (Probably it was originally introduced from N. Africa.) Not only the flowering heads but also the stems and the midribs of the main leaves were eaten. Young buds were pickled in vinegar or brine with silphium and cumin.