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Goat's Beard

Tragopogon pratensis

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Asteraceae (Daisy)
Also in this family:
Alpine Blue Sow-thistle, Alpine Cotula, Alpine Fleabane, Alpine Saw-wort, Annual Ragweed, Annual Sunflower, Argentine Fleabane, Autumn Hawkbit, Autumn Oxeye, Beaked Hawksbeard, Beggarticks, Bilbao Fleabane, Black Knapweed, Black-eyed Susan, Blanketflower, Blue Fleabane, Blue Globe-thistle, Bristly Oxtongue, Broad-leaved Cudweed, Broad-leaved Ragwort, Brown Knapweed, Butterbur, Buttonweed, Cabbage Thistle, Canadian Fleabane, Canadian Goldenrod, Carline Thistle, Chalk Knapweed, Chamois Ragwort, Changing Michaelmas Daisy, Chicory, Chinese Mugwort, Chinese Ragwort, Coltsfoot, Common Blue Sow-thistle, Common Cat's-ear, Common Cudweed, Common Daisy, Common Dandelion, Common Fleabane, Common Goldenrod, Common Groundsel, Common Michaelmas Daisy, Common Mugwort, Common Ragwort, Common Wormwood, Coneflower, Confused Michaelmas Daisy, Corn Chamomile, Corn Marigold, Cornflower, Cotton Thistle, Cottonweed, Creeping Thistle, Daisy Bush, Dwarf Cudweed, Dwarf Thistle, Early Goldenrod, Eastern Groundsel, Eastern Leopardsbane, Elecampane, English Hawkweed, Fen Ragwort, Feverfew, Field Fleawort, Field Wormwood, Fox and Cubs, French Tarragon, Gallant Soldier, Garden Lettuce, Giant Butterbur, Glabrous-headed Hawkweed, Glandular Globe-thistle, Glaucous Michaelmas Daisy, Globe Artichoke, Globe-thistle, Golden Ragwort, Golden Samphire, Goldilocks Aster, Grass-leaved Goldenrod, Great Lettuce, Greater Burdock, Greater Knapweed, Grey-headed Hawkweed, Guernsey Fleabane, Hairless Blue Sow-thistle, Hairless Leptinella, Hairy Michaelmas Daisy, Harpur Crewe's Leopardsbane, Hawkweed Oxtongue, Heath Cudweed, Heath Groundsel, Hemp Agrimony, Highland Cudweed, Hoary Mugwort, Hoary Ragwort, Hybrid Knapweed, Intermediate Burdock, Irish Fleabane, Jersey Cudweed, Jerusalem Artichoke, Lance-leaved Hawkweed, Lavender-cotton, Leafless Hawksbeard, Least Lettuce, Leopardplant, Leopardsbane, Leptinella, Lesser Burdock, Lesser Hawkbit, Lesser Sunflower, London Bur-marigold, Magellan Ragwort, Marsh Cudweed, Marsh Hawksbeard, Marsh Ragwort, Marsh Sow-thistle, Marsh Thistle, Meadow Thistle, Melancholy Thistle, Mexican Fleabane, Milk Thistle, Mountain Everlasting, Mouse-ear Hawkweed, Musk Thistle, Narrow-leaved Cudweed, Narrow-leaved Hawkweed, Narrow-leaved Michaelmas Daisy, Narrow-leaved Ragwort, New England Hawkweed, New Zealand Holly, Nipplewort, Nodding Bur-marigold, Northern Hawksbeard, Norwegian Mugwort, Oxeye Daisy, Oxford Ragwort, Pearly Everlasting, Perennial Cornflower, Perennial Ragweed, Perennial Sow-thistle, Perennial Sunflower, Pineapple Mayweed, Plantain-leaved Leopardsbane, Ploughman's Spikenard, Plymouth Thistle, Pontic Blue Sow-thistle, Pot Marigold, Prickly Lettuce, Prickly Sow-thistle, Purple Coltsfoot, Rayed Tansy, Red Star Thistle, Red-seeded Dandelion, Red-tipped Cudweed, Robin's Plantain, Roman Chamomile, Rough Cocklebur, Rough Hawkbit, Rough Hawksbeard, Russian Lettuce, Safflower, Salsify, Saw-wort, Scented Mayweed, Scentless Mayweed, Sea Aster, Sea Mayweed, Sea Wormwood, Seaside Daisy, Shaggy Mouse-ear Hawkweed, Shaggy Soldier, Shasta Daisy, Shetland Mouse-ear Hawkweed, Shrub Ragwort, Sicilian Chamomile, Silver Ragwort, Slender Mugwort, Slender Thistle, Small Cudweed, Small Fleabane, Smooth Cat's-ear, Smooth Hawksbeard, Smooth Sow-thistle, Sneezeweed, Sneezewort, Spear Thistle, Spotted Cat's-ear, Spotted Hawkweed, Sticky Groundsel, Stinking Chamomile, Stinking Hawksbeard, Tall Fleabane, Tall Mouse-ear Hawkweed, Tansy, Thin-leaved Sunflower, Trifid Bur-marigold, Tuberous Thistle, Tyneside Leopardplant, Viper's Grass, Wall Lettuce, Welsh Groundsel, Welted Thistle, White Butterbur, White Buttons, Willdenow's Leopardsbane, Winter Heliotrope, Wood Burdock, Wood Ragwort, Woody Fleabane, Woolly Thistle, Yarrow, Yellow Chamomile, Yellow Fox and Cubs, Yellow Oxeye, Yellow Star Thistle, Yellow Thistle, York Groundsel
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
1 metre tall
Grassland, meadows, roadsides, sand dunes, wasteland.

Yellow, many petals
Yellow dandelion-type flower, opening in the morning and when sunny, up to 3cm. Pointed bracts much longer than florets.
A head of white seeds, similar-looking to dandelion but larger.
Alternate, stalkless and linear leaves, tapering to a sharp point. Parallel veins.
Other Names:
Jack-go-to-bed-at-noon, Meadow Goat's-beard, Meadow Salsify, Oyster Plant, Shepherd's Clock, Showy Goat's-beard, Yellow Goat's-beard.
Frequency (UK):

Similar Species

Other Information


Tragopogon pratensis, also known as meadow salsify or meadow goat's-beard, is a species of flowering plant in the Asteraceae family. It is native to Europe and western Asia and is commonly found in meadows, pastures, and roadsides. It has a tall, upright habit and can reach up to 1 meter in height. It produces large, yellow dandelion-like flowers that bloom in the summer, followed by fluffy seed heads. The root of the plant is edible and can be roasted, boiled, or pickled. Tragopogon pratensis is considered an invasive weed species in some countries, it can outcompete native species, and is considered a pest for farmers due to its allelopathic effects on other plants.


Goat's beard, also known as meadow salsify or Tragopogon pratensis, is a plant species belonging to the family Asteraceae. This herbaceous plant is found in meadows, grasslands, and open areas throughout Europe, Asia, and North America. Goat's beard is easily recognized by its yellow dandelion-like flowers, which bloom from May to July, and its distinctive seed heads, which resemble a large puffball.

Goat's beard has been used for centuries for its medicinal properties. The roots of the plant are edible and have a sweet taste similar to that of parsnips or carrots. They are also high in inulin, a soluble fiber that can help regulate blood sugar levels and improve digestion. The leaves and flowers of goat's beard have been used to treat a variety of ailments, including constipation, liver problems, and skin conditions.

In addition to its medicinal uses, goat's beard is also a valuable plant for wildlife. The nectar and pollen produced by the flowers are an important food source for bees and other pollinators. The seeds of goat's beard are also a valuable food source for birds, including goldfinches and sparrows.

Goat's beard is a hardy plant that is easy to grow and maintain. It prefers full sun to partial shade and well-drained soil. It is tolerant of a wide range of soil types, from sandy to clay soils, and can grow in both alkaline and acidic soils. Goat's beard can be propagated by seed or by dividing established plants in the spring or fall.

In recent years, goat's beard has gained popularity as a garden plant. Its tall, upright stems and bright yellow flowers make it an attractive addition to any garden or landscape. It is also a useful plant for erosion control, as its deep taproot can help stabilize soil on slopes and hillsides.

Goat's beard is a biennial or perennial plant that typically grows up to 3 feet tall, although it can reach up to 6 feet in some conditions. It has long, narrow leaves that grow in a rosette at the base of the plant and shorter leaves along the stem. The plant produces a single stem with a solitary flower head, which opens in the morning and closes in the afternoon.

Goat's beard is a hardy plant that can grow in a wide range of climates, from temperate to subarctic regions. It is commonly found in meadows, grasslands, roadsides, and other open areas. It is also tolerant of drought and can withstand moderate levels of salt.

Goat's beard is an important plant for biodiversity conservation. Its deep taproot can help to improve soil structure and prevent soil erosion, while its nectar and pollen provide a valuable food source for pollinators. The plant is also used as a host by a variety of insects, including the goat's beard weevil (Rhinocyllus conicus), which feeds on the plant's seeds.

While goat's beard is generally considered to be a non-invasive plant, it has become naturalized in some parts of North America and is sometimes considered to be a weed. In these areas, it can outcompete native plants and reduce biodiversity.

In addition to its medicinal and ecological uses, goat's beard has also been used for culinary purposes. The young leaves can be eaten raw or cooked, and the roots can be roasted or boiled. In some countries, the plant is also used to make a coffee substitute.

One interesting characteristic of goat's beard is that its flowers are heliotropic, which means they track the movement of the sun throughout the day. This allows the flowers to maximize their exposure to sunlight and pollinators, which can increase their chances of successful reproduction.

In traditional medicine, goat's beard has been used to treat a wide range of ailments, including liver and kidney problems, respiratory infections, and skin conditions. It is also believed to have diuretic and laxative properties, which can help to improve digestion and detoxify the body.

More recently, goat's beard has attracted attention for its potential as a natural remedy for cancer. Studies have shown that extracts from the plant may be effective in inhibiting the growth and spread of certain types of cancer cells, although more research is needed to confirm these findings.

As a garden plant, goat's beard is relatively low-maintenance and can be grown in a variety of soil types and conditions. However, it may require staking or support to prevent the tall stems from flopping over, especially in windy areas.

Goat's beard is also a popular plant for use in herbal teas and natural remedies. Its roots and leaves have been used in traditional medicine as a natural diuretic and liver tonic. In addition, the plant is said to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, which can help to boost the immune system and protect against a range of diseases.

In terms of cultivation, goat's beard is relatively easy to grow from seed and can be started indoors in late winter or sown directly in the garden in early spring. The plant prefers full sun to partial shade and well-drained soil, and benefits from regular watering during dry spells.

While goat's beard is generally considered to be a safe and non-toxic plant, it may cause allergic reactions in some individuals. As with any new herb or plant, it is important to exercise caution and seek medical advice if you experience any unusual symptoms after consuming or handling goat's beard.

Overall, goat's beard is a valuable and versatile plant with a rich history of uses. Whether you are interested in its medicinal properties, its ecological benefits, or simply its bright yellow flowers and attractive foliage, goat's beard is a plant that is well worth exploring further.


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