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Tragopogon porrifolius

Please keep in mind that it is illegal to uproot a plant without the landowner's consent and care should be taken at all times not to damage wild plants. Wild plants should never be picked for pleasure and some plants are protected by law.
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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, Goat's Beard, 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, 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, Treasureflower, Trifid Bur-marigold, Tuberous Thistle, Tyneside Leopardplant, Viper's Grass, Wall Lettuce, Welsh Groundsel, Welted Thistle, White African Daisy, 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
Cliffs, gardens, grassland, meadows, roadsides, sea cliffs, seaside, walls, wasteland.

Purple, many petals
Dull purple, dandelion-like flowers,3 to 5cm across. The flowers are similar to those of Goats Beard but larger and dull purple. The pointed bracts are much longer than the petals. Insect pollinated.
The fruit is similar to that of a dandelion but larger. The seeds ripen from July to September.
Linear, grass-like leaves, similar to Goats Beard. Biennial.
Other Names:
Common Salsify, Goatsbeard, Jack go to Bed, Jerusalem Star, Oyster Plant, Purple Goat's-beard, Purple Salsify, Vegetable Oyster.
Frequency (UK):
Occasionally seen  

Similar Species

Other Information


Tragopogon porrifolius, also known as the purple goat's-beard or oyster plant, is a perennial plant in the daisy family. It is native to Europe and Asia and has been introduced to North America as an ornamental plant. The plant has a tall stem that can reach up to 3 feet in height and bears small yellow flowers. The leaves are long and narrow and resemble those of an onion or leek. It is commonly found in meadows, pastures, and along roadsides.


Salsify, also known as Tragopogon porrifolius, is a versatile and nutritious plant that has been cultivated for centuries. Salsify is a member of the sunflower family, and is native to Europe, but can now be found throughout the world.

The plant produces long, slender roots that are similar in appearance to parsnips, but have a distinctively nutty flavor that is often compared to that of oysters. The roots are high in fiber, potassium, and vitamin C, and are also a good source of other nutrients such as calcium and iron.

In addition to its nutritional value, salsify is also a versatile culinary ingredient. The roots can be boiled, steamed, roasted, or sautéed, and are often used in soups, stews, and casseroles. They can also be mashed, like potatoes, or grated and made into fritters. The tender young leaves can also be cooked and used like spinach.

Salsify has a long history of use in traditional medicine. It was believed to have diuretic properties and was used to treat a variety of ailments, including respiratory infections and digestive disorders. More recent research has shown that salsify may have anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties, and may also help regulate blood sugar levels.

Salsify is a hardy plant that can be grown in a variety of climates, from temperate to subtropical regions. It prefers well-drained soil and full sun but can also tolerate partial shade. The plant typically grows up to 3 feet tall and produces striking purple or pink flowers that bloom in the late spring or early summer.

In addition to its culinary and medicinal uses, salsify has also been used in traditional agriculture as a cover crop. Its deep, fibrous roots can help improve soil structure and prevent erosion, and it is often grown as a companion crop with other vegetables.

Salsify is a relatively low-maintenance crop, but it does require some patience. The roots can take up to 120 days to mature, but the wait is well worth it for the rich, nutty flavor they provide. The plant also self-seeds readily, so be sure to harvest the roots before they start to bolt and go to seed.

If you're interested in growing your own salsify, be sure to start with quality seeds from a reputable source. Salsify can be started indoors or sown directly in the garden, depending on your climate and growing season. With proper care and attention, you can enjoy a bountiful harvest of this unique and delicious vegetable.

In addition to its health benefits, salsify has also been used for its aesthetic qualities. The plant's striking purple or pink flowers make it a popular addition to gardens and landscaping. The flowers are also edible and can be used to add a pop of color to salads and other dishes.

Salsify has a few close relatives in the Tragopogon genus, including the yellow salsify (Tragopogon dubius) and meadow salsify (Tragopogon pratensis). Both of these plants are edible and have similar nutritional and culinary properties to salsify.

However, it's important to note that salsify is sometimes confused with a plant called goat's beard (Aruncus dioicus), which is also sometimes referred to as salsify. Goat's beard is a perennial plant with fluffy white flowers that are used for ornamental purposes, but it is not edible.

Salsify is a nutritious and versatile plant that has a long history of culinary and medicinal use. It's easy to grow and provides a unique flavor and texture to a variety of dishes. Whether you're a gardener, chef, or health enthusiast, salsify is a plant worth exploring.

Salsify has also been used in traditional folk medicine to treat a variety of ailments. The plant was believed to have diuretic properties and was used to promote urination and treat kidney and bladder problems. It was also used to treat respiratory infections, digestive disorders, and skin conditions.

More recent scientific studies have supported some of these traditional uses. Salsify has been found to have anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties, and may help regulate blood sugar levels. One study found that salsify extract was able to inhibit the growth of breast cancer cells in vitro.

Salsify is also a good source of inulin, a type of fiber that has been shown to have prebiotic properties. Inulin can help promote the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut and may improve digestive health. Additionally, the fiber in salsify can help promote feelings of fullness and aid in weight management.

While salsify is generally considered safe to eat, it's important to note that some people may be allergic to the plant. If you experience any allergic symptoms after consuming salsify, such as hives, itching, or swelling, stop eating it and seek medical attention if necessary.

Overall, salsify is a unique and nutritious plant that is rich in flavor and health benefits. Whether you're looking to improve your digestive health, incorporate more prebiotics into your diet, or explore new culinary ingredients, salsify is a great choice for anyone interested in healthy eating and sustainable agriculture.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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