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Salsify

(Tragopogon spp.)

Other Names:

Goat's beard, Oyster plant

Range:

Family:

Asteraceae Daisy family

Identifying characteristics:

Growth Type:

This herbaceous biennial begins in early spring as a basal rosette.

 

Height:

Salsify typically reaches a height of 8-24 inches, but may attain 3 feet or more.

Leaves:

This herbaceous biennial begins in early spring as a basal rosette with thick, parallel veined, grass like leaves that may reach up to 1' in length.

Stem/Trunk:

Later in spring, a smooth upright stem with alternate thin grass like, light green, leaves appears. The leaves clasp the stem, which contains milky juice.

Root:

Long taproot

Flower:

Season:

Spring

Appearance:

In the spring a single, giant, yellow or purple dandelion like flower tops the stem. Below the flower are approximately 8 lance shaped bracts. The blossom opens in the morning, and closes by midday.

Seed/Fruit:

After fertilization, the bracts droop, like a goats beard, and the flower becomes a globe shaped seed ball, like that of dandelion, only much larger.

Miscellaneous characteristics:

N/A

Habitat:

Waste Areas, Roadsides

Parts Used:

Young Leaves, Crowns, Root

Uses:

Wild Food Uses:

The young basal rosette leaves, and crowns, can be added to salads, or as a trail nibble, or as a cooked vegetable. The root can be boiled, and eaten as a root vegetable. The leaves and root have a mildly bitter, oyster-like flavor, hence the common name oyster plant. The root is also supposed to be able to be roasted, and ground for a coffee substitute, although I have never tried this.

The following text is meant for informational purposes only. It is not meant to diagnose or treat any illness or injury. Always consult with a physician or other qualified medical care provider concerning the diagnosis and treatment of any illness or injury.

Medicinal Uses:

None known

Medicinal Actions:

N/A

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Revised: 05/11/16 Living Afield