In the United States, the most popular kind of artichoke is the California green globe. Some other varieties cultivated in the United States and developed from varieties found in Italy and France are baby anzio, big heart, siena, mercury, Omaha, fiesole, chianti and king artichoke.
Baby anzio variety is light red and small (merely 1 inch in diameter). Like other baby varieties, it can be eaten whole.
Unlike anzio, big heart weighs just over a pound and boasts around 3 1/2 to 5 1/2 inches of diameter. It is green, meaty, and suitable for stuffing.
Siena variety is known for its wine red color and oblong shape. It is normally around 4 inches wide and weighs less than a pound. Siena differs from many other varieties because it is often so soft that it does not require cooking.
Mercury is small, round at the top and red-violet in color. It has a distinctively sweet taste.
Omaha variety can be up to 6 inches wide and less bitter than many other varieties. Its sharp red and green leaves give it a rather unique look.
Fiesole artichoke is 2 inches wide and has a deep wine color. Its main features are its fruity taste and tender stalks suitable for steaming.
Chianti variety is similar to siena in size (4 inches). Its leaves are green with a hint of maroon.
King artichoke is normally 4 inches wide and weighs more than a pound. Its most prominent features, apart from the size, are its green spots at the top of the leaves.
The classic green globe can be 3 to 5 inches wide. It is round, green and meaty with a buttery taste.