Artichoke, what?

If, like me, you’re generally accustomed to seeing artichokes in grocery stores, this is what you are familiar with, right? Spiky globular green things with overlapping scales like some delicious reptilian vegetable?

I knew in theory that what they were was thistles.

But it wasn’t until a recent trip to Rockaway Beach that I really got the point. Someone had planted an artichoke in a flowerbed beside a parking lot.

It looked like this:

As I paused to take these photographs, a lady heading to her car stopped to see what I was looking at. She was as amazed as I was. “Who knew?” she asked several times. “Who knew?”

Just what I felt. I wonder if these things would grow in my yard.