This giant thistle, native of southern Europe, with silvery grey-green leaves, resembling the acanthus leaf in shape, grows at its best where the flower spike comes quickly to maturity; hence its cultivation in vast fields in the Bay of Paestum, the Bay of Naples, Sicily and the plain of Bari. Artichokes are very heavy feeders and, if grown near other plants, at once inhibit them. Natives of limestone, they dislike frost and normally flower below the frost line.
There are two main varieties: those with a pointed head and prickly leaves, Spinosa Sardo, and those with a rounded head and no prickles, Romanesco. See their use in a frittata, cooked a lagrecque, preserved in oil and fried. Here I shall only say that of the many ways the simplest are often the best: