- Cynara cardunculus is a perennial herb that can grow up to about 5 ft. (1.5 m) tall.
- Stems are leafy, erect, and branched. Leaves are basal until bolting, then cauline leaves that are alternate, spiny, and gray green and cobwebby on the upper surface, are seen on the flower stalks.
- Flower heads are discoid, large, and seen in loose clusters on top of the stalk. The involucres are hemispheric, 2 in. (5 cm) in diameter having stout spines at the tips. Flowers are purple to blue, slender tubes, and linear.
- Fruits are white to brownish, cylindrical, compressed with many stiff bristles, 1-1.5 in. (2.5-3.8 cm), plumose below, and attached at base.
- Ecological Threat
- Cynara cardunculus prefers disturbed areas such as grassland, coastal scrubs, and fields. It is native to the Mediterranean.
Global Invasive Species Database. 2011. Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG) of the IUCN Species Survival Commission 
University of California, Jepson Flora Project 
Flora of North America, www.eFloras.org 
University of Florida IFAS Extension 
California Invasive Plant Council 
USDA NRCS PLANTS 
USDA ARS GRIN 
Images from Bugwood.org