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From Biology-Online Dictionary | Biology-Online Dictionary
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(Science: botany)

1. The Cynara scolymus, a plant somewhat resembling a thistle, with a dilated, imbricated, and prickly involucre. The head (to which the name is also applied) is composed of numerous oval scales, inclosing the florets, sitting on a broad receptacle, which, with the fleshy base of the scales, is much esteemed as an article of food.

2. See jerusalem artichoke.

Origin: It. Articioco, perh. Corrupted fr. The same word as carciofo; cf. Older spellings archiciocco, archicioffo, carciocco, and sp. Alcachofa, pg. Alcachofra; prob. Fr. Ar. Al-harshaf, al-kharshf.