Artichokes are native to the Mediterranean. They were eaten by the Greeks and Romans and later by the Arabs. However after the fall of Rome artichokes were rare in Europe until the 15th century when they were grown in Italy. From there artichokes spread to the rest of Europe.
The three most common varieties of artichoke:
‘Green globe’:Large green heads with thick, fleshy scales. Needs winter protection in cooler areas.
‘Purple Sicilian’:Small, deep purple buds, which are excellent for eating raw, when young. Not frost hardy.