The Globe Artichoke is a perennial thistle originating in Southern Europe around the Mediterranean. artichokes are most frequently prepared for cooking by removing all but 5 millimetres (0.20 in) to 10 millimetres (0.39 in) or so of the stem, and (optionally) cutting away about a quarter of each scale with scissors. This removes the thorns on some varieties that can interfere with handling the leaves when eating. Then, the artichoke is boiled or steamed until tender. If boiling, salt can be added to the water, if desired. It may be preferable not to cover the pot while the artichokes are boiled, so that the acids will boil out into the air.