Thistle-like cardoon flower & buds
A mauve thistle-like 'cardoon' (Cynara cardunculus) flower with accompanying, as yet unopened, flower buds. The spines of the spiky buds are stained a deep purple-maroon colour which compliments the flowers beautifully.
Cardoons make large perennial clumps from which 6-7ft flowering stems rise. So architectural in the flower border as well as the kitchen garden. The stems of cardoons are edible and can be used like celery, whose stalks they resemble.
Date taken: 22 August 2013.