Cynara is a genus of thistle-like perennial plants in the aster family, Asteraceae. They are native to the Mediterranean region, northwestern Africa, and the Canary Islands. The genus name comes from the Greek kynara, which means "artichoke".
Among the species in this genus are:
- Cynara cardunculus is the cardoon, artichoke thistle, or wild artichoke. The stems of cultivated varieties are used as food around the Mediterranean. It is a common source of a coagulant used as an alternative to rennet in the manufacture of cheese, with the advantage that the cheese is then fully suitable for vegetarians; many southern European cheeses are traditionally made in this way. The edible globe artichoke is usually considered to be an ancient cultigen of this plant. As an introduced species in California, Argentina, and Australia, it is a major pest.
- Cynara humilis is a wild thistle of southern Europe and north Africa which can be used in cheesemaking like C. cardunculus.
- Cynara scolymus is the edible globe artichoke. It differs from C. cardunculus in that the leaf lobes and inner bracts of involucre are less spiny.
- Cynara cornigera leaves and flowers are eaten raw or cooked in Crete.
There are about 10 species in the genus.
- Cynara algarbiensis
- Cynara auranitica
- Cynara baetica
- Cynara cardunculus - cardoon
- Cynara cornigera
- Cynara cyrenaica
- Cynara humilis
- Cynara makrisii
- Cynara scolymus (syn. C. cardunculus var. scolymus) - artichoke
- Cynara syriaca
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- Cynara. Flora of North America.
- Vioque, M., et al. (2000). Chemical and microbiological characteristics of ewes' milk cheese manufactured with extracts from flowers of Cynara cardunculus and Cynara humilis as coagulants. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 48(2), 451-56.
- Kyriazopoulos, A. P., et al. Edible plant species in rangeland ecosystems of Crete, Greece. In: Grassland farming and land management systems in mountainous regions. Proceedings of the 16th Symposium of the European Grassland Federation, Gumpenstein, Austria, 29-31 August, 2011. pp. 505-07.
- Artichoke Plume Moth, Platyptilia carduidactyla. Integrated Pest Management. University of California. Updated 2009.
- Fernández, J., et al. (2006). Industrial applications of Cynara cardunculus L. for energy and other uses. Industrial Crops and Products 24, 222–29.
- The seed characteristics, seed composition, and allometric relationships predicting seed yields in the biomass crop Cynara cardunculus. Global Change Biology Bioenergy. 2-3, 113-129.
- Cynara. The Plant List.
- Hand, R. and G. Hadjikyriakou. (2009). Cynara makrisii (Asteraceae, Cardueae), a new artichoke species in Cyprus. Willdenowia 39(1) 77-81.
- GRIN Species Records of Cynara. Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN).