The globe artichoke (Cynara cardunculus var. scolymus) is a cultivated variety of a species of thistle. It is cultivated as a food. The edible matter is buds that form within the flower heads before the flowers come into bloom. The buds go away or change to a coarse, barely edible form when the flower blooms. The uncultivated or wild variety of the species is called a cardoon. It is a perennial plant native to the Mediterranean region.