The artichoke is a multi-year plant that forms a developed rhizome from which various stems emerge. These longitudinally ribbed stems generate lobes with whitish undersides, and at the apex some inflorescences in the head. These heads, when the flowers are still forming, are thickened, closed and still tender. This is what it's interesting from the artichoke.
In Spain some 200,000 tons of artichokes are produced annually, of which almost half are used for the production of preserves. The area used is approximately 15,000 hectares and is mainly concentrated in Murcia, the Valencian Community, Catalonia and Aragón-Rioja-Navarra.
It does not have a strict preference in relation to the soil, but very sandy soils or soils where water stagnates easily should be avoided. It adapts to slightly alkaline soils and is relatively tolerant to salinity.
It prefers temperate climates, without excess heat since this can worsen the quality of the heads. Its growth interval is between 15 and 18ºC. In case of frost, the flower heads are easily damaged, but the plant itself can resist them better.
The artichoke has higher water needs during the harvest period, when the head is at its optimum state.
The main variety In Spain is the Blanca de Tudela (with light green heads) and the Violeta de Provenza (with purple heads), although the use of other varieties such as Madrileñas, Aranjuez, Getafe (green varieties ) or Early Violet, Romanesco, Sicilian Violet (purple varieties).
Other similar crops