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Cardo canuto, Cirsium eriophorum

Family of compositae

In Italy there is a large variety of thistles; they have medical and edible properties very similar to the ones of artichoke (they belong to the same botanical family).

Use
The leaves left to infuse with white wine have tonic properties, and they make it a good aperitif. The seeds of "cardo mariano" are vascular tonics and the soft part of trunk is used in recipe, boiled or cooked in a pan with butter and cheese. Its leaves, without thorns, can be mixed with salad, and the heads, after having removed the thorny and coriaceous parts, are cooked like artichoke: boiled with oil and lemon, or as an ingredient of risotto or cooked in a special manner called "alla Giudia".

Picture and text of Tebaldo Lorini
Translated by Gianna Toni

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