Patrick, enjoyed the story, reminded me of me.
Perhaps I'm pointing out the obvious here, but I thought I'd mention that
an Artichoke is a domesticated Thistle! Never tried out any of the native
Thistles though (don't like Artichokes to well anyway, eating them is too much
work for the marginal returns).
I've always liked wild thistles as ornamentals, brought a seedling home
once and planted it (had really attractive bright green leaves, not like the
usually gray wild ones around here). Turned out to be Scotch Thistle,
nasty, and I've been trying to eradicate them ever since (they reseed all over
the place, and I let a head go to seed). They are pretty though.