Cnicus eriophorus Roth. Compositae.
Europe and Asia Minor. This thistle is said to have been cultivated by M. Lecoq in France and is pronounced by him a savory vegetable. The receptacles of this plant, says Lightfoot, are pulpy and esculent, like those of the artichoke.
Cnicus oleraceus Linn.
Northern Europe and Asia. The leaves of this thistle are cooked and eaten by the Russians. In France, it is in flower gardens. The plant is included among vegetables by Vilmorin, although he says it does not appear to be cultivated. The swollen rootstock, gathered before the plant flowers, was formerly used as a table-vegetable. It does not appear to have ever reached American gardens.
Cnicus palustris Willd.
Europe and Asia Minor. In Evelyn's time, the stalks were employed, as were those of the milk-thistle, for food. Lightfoot says the stalks are esculent, after being peeled and boiled.
Cnicus serratuloides Roth.
Siberia. The roots are eaten.
Cnicus virginianus Pursh.
North America. The roots are about the size of carrots, are sweet and well flavored but require a long preparation. They are eaten by the western Indians.