Artichokes are characterised by a high level of heterozygosis which is typical of the cultivars that are cultivated at present. This high level of heterozygosis is visible in ”seeds” propagated strain through a wide morphological and biological variability. For this reason, the vegetative propagation is used and the implant is carried out using offshoots, ovoli and crown segments taken from fields used for the production of yield heads. This technique, widely used by farmers, has several serious disadvantages such as phytosanitary conditions, the uniformity of the artichokes and a limited knowledge of source material. Moreover, traditional propagation does not allow for a mechanization of artichoke planting. If carried out by hand, the system costs are further increased by the low index of survival by traditional propagation and by an high degree of heterogeneity. Seed propagation could be a useful alternative in rationalizing growing techniques and improving the phytosanitary condition of the plants. As a result, studies to obtain hybrid seeds on a commercial level have carried out. However, hybrid cultivars usually yield in spring and recently also in autumn. Cultivated for industry and for the fresh market, they are not particularly widespread as they are not considered suitable for Italian consumers. Consequently, today the most commonly used propagation material comes from vegetative propagation. The improvement and rationalization of artichoke propagation systems must be carried out through the use of appropriate nursery production which defines the protocols used to produce plantlets for transplant. The main results of the propagation field are presented in this note. At first, the results concerning the different ways of using the traditional – “ rooting offshoots and ovoli ” – and innovative – “micropropagation” and “soilless propagation” – technologies are shown. Afterward, a remark about the value of biotechnology to this plant propagation is given together with its main role in nursery production. Finally, after a brief evaluation of seed propagation advantages and of the reasons why it isn’t wildely adopted in Italy, the up-to-date F1 hybrids studies are shortly mentioned.
Keywords: seed, offshoots, ovoli, micropropagation, mychorrizal symbiosis