Wild artichokes of south Italy: did the story begin here?
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A collection of wild artichokes (Cynara cardunculus L. var. sylvestris (Lam.) Fiori) was conducted in south Italy. The distribution of the wild populations was not even all over the explored territory, from the coastline to the inner mountains, and in some areas wild artichokes were completely absent. A certain level of morphological variation for height and habit of plants, size and shape of capitula, length, shape, and position of bracteal spines, was observed. It has been noticed that picking capitula from the wild for human consumption is a common habit in southern Italy and Sicily. Historical data and etnobotanic inference suggest the idea that the artichoke could have been domesticated in south Italy, and Sicily in particular, and was spread by the Arabs to other regions of the Mediterranean Basin.
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