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ISHS Acta Horticulturae 730: VI International Symposium on Artichoke, Cardoon and Their Wild Relatives


Author:   J.I. Macua
Keywords:   countries, cultivars, cultural practices, commercialisation
DOI:   10.17660/ActaHortic.2007.730.2
The broad, low-lying fields of the Mediterranean are where the artichoke was first grown, and where its cultivation developed and increased over the centuries until quite recently, production having remained stagnant since the end of last century. 50,000 hectares in Italy, 19,000 in Spain and 10,000 in France, amongst other countries, are currently given over to this crop. However, two new horizons have opened up for this vegetable, on opposite sides of the world: one to the east (China), and the other to the west (South America). South American countries were the first to start growing artichokes, and do so in greater amounts: Peru now has over 4,000 hectares, most of which are covered with plants grown from seed; Chile has 2,500-3,000 hectares of plants grown from cuttings, of the Blanca de Tudela variety, and Ecuador has 500 hectares of varieties grown from seed. In China, however, cultivation of this crop is much more recent, only starting in 2003 with new plantations, consisting entirely of plants grown from seed, covering approximately 1,000 hectares in Kunming area and 200 hectares in and around Wuhan. The rapid expansion of this crop in completely new areas is due to the use of seed, which allows a large number of plants to be grown in a short period of time, in contrast to the use of cuttings, which limits the number of new plants. The varieties being grown in almost all these new countries are Imperial Star, Lorca or A-106. The fact that artichokes are now being grown in countries where they were previously unknown means that domestic demand is nil, all the production being canned, bottled or frozen, or in the case of China, being preserved in barrels for later re-packing, and destined for export. The zones chosen for production have mild weather conditions and a long growing season, this in turn leading to a high degree of productivity (20-30 t/ha). With regard to the Mediterranean basin, the situation has improved in some of the southern countries such as Egypt and Morocco, or to a lesser extent Turkey, but this cannot be compared with the countries mentioned above.

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