ARTICHOKE. The common artichoke, Cynara, scolymus, is a plant belonging to the natural order Compositae, having some resemblance to a large thistle. It has long been esteemed as a culinary vegetable; the parts chiefly employed being the immature receptacle or floret disk, with the lower part of the surrounding leaf-scales, which are known as "artichoke bottoms." In Italy the receptacles, dried, are largely used in soups; those of the cultivated plant as Carciofo domestico, and of the wild variety as Carciofo spinoso.
The Jerusalem artichoke, Helianthus tuberosus, is a distinct plant belonging to the same order, cultivated for its tubers. It closely resembles the sunflower, and its popular name is a corruption of the Italian Girasole Articiocco, the sunflower artichoke. It is a native of Canada and the north-eastern United States, and was cultivated by the aborigines. The tubers are rich in the carbohydrate inulin and in sugar.
The name is derived from the northern Italian articiocco, or arciciocco, modern carciofo; these words come, through the Spanish, from the Arabic al-kharshuf. False etymology has corrupted the word in many languages: it has been derived in English from "choke," and "heart," or the Latin hortus, a garden; and in French, the form artichaut has been connected with chaud, hot, and chou, a cabbage.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)