Pluck its thorny leaves and this is indeed akkoub, a prized (by many) wild vegetable; also known as tumbleweed, cardon (French), or gundelia. Apparently this wild vegetable’s recent claim to fame is that its grains were identified by researchers on the shroud of Turin.
I got three recipes from local mountain folks; one way is to deep-fry them (coated in a batter), another is to cook them in lamb shanks like a stew, and the last one is to marinate and grill them.
These faintly taste like artichoke. The mere mention of akkoub here elicits a lot of excitement. After all, it is a wild plant, it is not easy to forage (you have to climb steep mountains), and it requires a lot of effort (plucking all these spiny leaves out).