The globe artichoke (Cynara cardunculus var. scolymus) is a variety of a species of thistlecultivated as a food. The edible portion of the plant consists of the flower buds before the flowers come into bloom. The budding artichoke flower-head is a cluster of many budding small flowers (an inflorescence) together with many bracts, on an edible base. Once the buds bloom the structure changes to a coarse, barely edible form. The uncultivated or wild variety of the species is called a cardoon. It is a perennial plant native to the Mediterranean region.