"Cynara" is a genus of thistle-like perennial plants in the sunflower family. They are native to the Mediterranean region, the Middle East, northwestern Africa, and the Canary Islands. The genus name comes from the Greek "kynara", which means "artichoke".

The stems of cultivated varieties are used as food around the Mediterranean. It is a common source of a coagulant used as an alternative to rennet in the manufacture of cheese, with the advantage that the cheese is then fully suitable for vegetarians; many southern European cheeses are traditionally made in this way. The more commonly eaten globe artichoke is usually considered to be an ancient cultigen of this plant. Cardoon is an invasive species in United States, Argentina, and Australia.

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