The Globe Artichoke is perhaps more commonly associated with the vegetable garden because the flower buds are usually eaten as a vegetable but this spectacular plant, belonging to the thistle family, can make a dramatic statement in the ornamental garden.
It is a clump-forming perennial with large (up to 90cm long), deeply-divided, grey-green leaves, sometimes with spines. It bears large, thistle-like flowers that are green to purple in colour with big bracts at the base of each flower. The individual plants can grow up to two metres tall, although in South African conditions they normally only attain a height of about half of that. They are cold tolerant and the flowers attract bees.