There are three variants- Chinese, Japanese, Globe artichoke. The Globe artichoke is related to the thistle family and is a bud. The Japanese artichoke belongs to the sunflower family and it is the plant's underground tubers that are eaten. They are irregular in shape, with a pale brown or purply-red skin.
Use: The tender artichoke heart and meaty bottom can be eaten. They should be used as soon as possible after buying.