|'Plein Blanc Inerme'
||The plant has large smooth solid white stalks.
Smaller than most cultivars, it grows up
to 1.2 metres tall and wide.
||A select strain that is much improved over
the old artichoke-leaved type. It has smooth
thick heavy stalks. The plant grows to about
1.8 metres tall and requires a rich soil.
||The plant has large very tender stalks, completely
free of spines. It is somewhat resistant
to dry growing conditions.
Experimental yields of 20 - 30 t/ha of dry
matter have been obtained. The plants do
not have pollutant properties, they help
to combat erosion in dry-farming areas throughout
Europe. Production and factory costs are
currently under study and are not currently
Constraints upon Production
Some of the major problems with using Cardoon
for industrial purposes are that it requires
high nutrition and can initially be relatively
costly to produce. Plague control is also
a problem as once the plant has become established
it is relatively difficult to eliminate from
the land. Finally problems with illnesses
and weeds require further study to optimise
production. Control of such problems are
currently difficult, one solution being looked
into is varieties with minimum wastage.
Markets and Market Potential
The cardoon has become important as a medicinal
herb in recent years following the discovery
of cynarin. This bitter-tasting compound,
which is found in the leaves, improves liver
and gall bladder function, stimulates the
secretion of digestive juices, especially
bile, and lowers blood cholesterol levels.
The leaves are anticholesterolemic, antirheumatic,
cholagogue, digestive, diuretic, hypoglycaemic
and lithontripic. They are used internally
in the treatment of chronic liver and gall
bladder diseases, jaundice, hepatitis, arteriosclerosis
and the early stages of late-onset diabetes.
The leaves are best harvested just before
the plant flowers, and can be used fresh
At one time the cardoon was often grown for
its edible stems but it has now fallen into
virtual disuse. There are some named varieties.
It is a very ornamental foliage plant and
makes a very attractive feature in the garden.
The leaves are long lasting in water and
are often used in flower arrangements.
Cardoon is cultivated for the blanched leaf
stalks and midribs, eaten as a boiled vegetable,
usually with white or cheese sauces such
as béchamel, or with butter, garlic and anchovy
sauces like Italian bagna cauda
. Cardoon is also used as a rennet substitute,
particularly in the processing of some regional
cheeses in Spain.
Cardoon can be used for industrial purposes
as a form of generating heat and electricity.
It also has the potential use of producing
motor fuel, targeting market demand for a
reduction in fuel costs.
The seeds should be sown in early spring
in a greenhouse. Germination is usually quick
and good, prick out the seedlings into individual
pots as soon as they are large enough to
handle and plant them out into their permanent
positions during the summer. It would be
prudent to give the plants some winter protection
in their first year.
The seed can also be sown in situ in April.
Sow the seed 2cm deep, putting 2 or 3 seeds
at each point that you want a plant. The
seed rate is generally 10,000 plants/ha.
The plant prefers a light warm soil and an
open position in full sun and does not grow
in the shade. For best results, this plant
requires plenty of moisture in the growing
season and a good rich soil, though it is
drought tolerant once established. It tolerates
most soils including nutritionally poor soils
and heavy clays of both acid and alkaline
nature. The plant can tolerate strong winds
but not maritime exposure. Plants seem to
be immune to the predations of rabbits.
This species is hardy to about -10°C. Plants
are more likely to require protection from
winter cold when they are grown in a heavy
soil. Wet winters can do more harm than cold
Division of suckers. This is best done in
November and the suckers overwintered in
a cold frame then planted out in April. Division
can also be carried out in March/April with
the divisions being planted out straight
into their permanent positions, though the
plants will be smaller in their first year.
Picture of Cardoon (Cyanara cardunculus
) – http://nnlm.gov/pnr/uwmhg/mhg94022.html
Cardoon (Cyanara cardunculus)
AIR2-CT92-1089 - Cynara cardunculus L. as New Crop for Marginal and Set-Aside
Crops for Paper/Pulp
Crops for Solid Biofuels
AIR2-CT92-1089: Cynara cardunculus
L. as New Crop for Marginal and Set-Aside
Coordinator: Dr. J Fernandez, Universidad Politecnica
de Madrid Dpto. Botanica agricola de T.S.