Artichokes are native to the Mediterranean and are classified as a member of the sunflower family. Originally grown in Italy and Sicily as far back as 300 BC they were a delicacy to the ancient Greeks and Romans. In 800 AD the artichoke was introduced to Spain by the African Moors who brought the plant from Sicily. The artichoke we know today was developed in this region and eventually brought to Louisiana in the 1800s by French immigrants escaping the wrath of the French Revolution. Spaniard settlers brought the plant west in the late 1800s to the Salinas Valley of California where it thrives to this day and where nearly all of the US production originates.