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Eating an artichoke (Cynara scolymus) is a war of attrition against a thistle, actually a cultivated, immature thistle flower, but a thistle nonetheless. There are artichokes, especially tiny ones, called carciofini in Italy, that can be eaten in their entirety, leaves and all. The famous flattened and deep-fried carciofini alia Giudea of the Roman ghetto are the leading example of this, and would be included here except that the requisite artichokes are almost never available away from the Mediterranean birthplace of the plant.