Tragopogon dubius

And another entry with Taisha as the author (I’m on vacation). She writes:

Today’s photo of Tragopogon dubius, or the yellow or western salsify, was taken by Brian Van Snellenberg (aka brianv_vancouver@Flickr) on June 4 in Summerland, British Columbia. According to Parish et al. in Plants of Southern Interior British Columbia, the genus Tragopogon is often referred to goat‘s-beard, as Greek philosopher Theophrastus observed that the hairy pappus extending beyond the tip of the closed flowers resembled that of a bearded goat. Thank you Brian for today’s photograph!

Of the Asteraceae, Tragopogon dubius is one of about 140 members of the goat‘s-beard genus. This species is of Old World origin (native to Eurasia and northern Africa). The western salsify now grows across North America, having been introduced to the continent by early settlers where it later escaped cultivation and is now considered weedy. It prefers dry grassy places, often alongside Tragopogon pratensis. This species, along with other members of the goat‘s-beard genus, is of concern in the rangelands of British Columbia, Canada as it competes with native forage species such as Pseudoroegneria spicata (blue-bunch wheatgrass). (see: Clements, D. R. et al. 1998. The biology of Canadian weeds. 110. Tragopogon dubius Scop., Tragopogon pratensis L. and Tragopogon porrifolius L. Canadian Journal of Plant Science. 79(1): 153-163.).

Linear grass-like leaves clasp the base of a stem that becomes hollow beneath the flower’s head. When either the leaf or stem is broken, a sticky, milky sap exudes. Ten or more involucral bracts extend past the yellow ray flowers. Salsify is from the French salsifis and Latin solsequium which is derived from both sol (sun) and sequium (follower), and as the name suggests the flowers of this species close at midday or cloudy weather, and face the sun in the morning and evening. The seeds with slender beaks and an umbrella-like pappus are dispersed by wind.

Tragopogon dubius

5 responses to “Tragopogon dubius”

  1. michael aman

    Some readers may not know that another tragopogon, Tragopogon porrifolius, is the vegetable garden plant salsify, or vegetable marrow, or vegetable oyster. It is raised much like parsnip and available at the same time. I believe it is a biennial. The taproot is left in the ground over winter and dug and sold in the spring.

  2. Jessica

    I don’t know which salsify species it is, but I often see them popping up in vacant lots or untended gardens in the New York City area. Their tall, fluffy seed heads look like dandelions on steroids! LOL Even if it’s considered “weedy” in some areas, it’s pretty delightful, here.
    BTW…do you know if all the salsify species have edible roots, or just porrifolius?
    My usual attitude towards weeds is…if ya can’t beat ’em, eat ’em!

  3. wendy

    Next time you see a salsify flower get down and smell it! The vegetable salsify flower smells more like chocolate than Cosmos astrosanguinea. Yum!

  4. Cyndy Henderson

    The seed heads look like spun gold when in sunlight, stunning!!

  5. michael aman

    Wendy, thanks for the tip. My other favorite scents from this time of year are milkweed and sunflower. Glad to have a new one. Yumm indeed.

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