‘Wards at St. Mungo’s Hospital for Magical Maladies and injuries are never busier than at Hallowe’en. There’s still a wizard in there with his head on back to front from last year. We’re not trying to stop people having fun. We’re just trying to stop them turning each other into artichokes without checking to see if they know the counter-charm."
-- Ministry spokesperson Stamford Jorkins on new Halloween restrictions
An artichoke is a mundane Muggle vegetable that inspires magic.
- The Ministry was upset about wizards charming others into artichokes around Halloween without first learning the counter-charm (DP4).
Hagrid wore a flower resembling "an oversized artichoke" to impress Madam Maxim as he showed her the dragons before the First Task of the Triwizard Tournament (GF19). This is a little pun, since artichokes have a "heart" inside and he is in love with Olympe, and they are both "oversized" themselves.
From the Arabic word al-karsufa, turned into the Spanish alcarchofa, N. Italian "articiocco" and French "artichaut" - corrupted in English to "artichoke" but has nothing to do with choking.
There are three types of Artichokes. The ones mentioned in regard to the magical world are undoubtedly the familiar globe artichoke, which resembles a large thistle bud which has to be cooked or steamed open before eating. Chinese and Jersalem artichokes have edible tubers.
In Greek mythology, the god Zeus was infatuated with a woman named Cynara, but she kept sneaking away from Mt. Olympus to visit her family. This angered Zeus and he turned her into the first artichoke.