Extraordinary Cardoon blooms that look like Giant Thistles

Spotted these plants while walking through a park in Brighton yesterday. I was struck by the huge size of the plant that towered above me. When I saw the buds I thought of artichokes. When I saw the blooms, that are about the size of my hand, it looked remarkably like a giant thistle. I discovered after some online investigation that it is a Cardoon bloom or Cynara cardunculus and is in fact edible.

Rather extraordinary.

Photo: Cardoon flower up close

Giant Thistle low res

Photo: Cardoon flower bud

Giant Thistle bud low res

Photo: Cardoon flower bud with ladybird

Giant Thistle bud ladybird low res

Photo: Cardoon flower side on

Giant Thistle 2 low res

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