Though the familiar cardoon and globe artichoke plants are undoubtedly magnificent specimens, there is a lot more to the genus Cynara, with a wide variety of exciting and intriguing (and spiky) forms and textures.
As well as that, most are better suited to smaller spaces than their giant relatives. All they really need is full sun and good drainage. (See also C.humilis and C.baetica maroccana.)
This is a more compact wild relative (ancestor?) of the culinary cardoon, with deeply cut silver grey leaves heavily armed with contrasting ivory (flavescens = yellowish) needles. The large inflorescences are also fiercely spiky and mottled and the florets are of a deep violet blue. The whole plant grows to about 4ft across and about the same in height at flowering time.
A magnificent thing, but perhaps not to be planted too close to the path. And wear very thick gloves working near it!
1L pots ~ £7