Tuesday, July 09, 2013

That weed is not a giant dandelion!

This summer I noticed what looked like a bunch of giant dandelion seed heads on the side of the field near our mail box. But it isn't a dandelion at all. What I was looking at we're the seed heads of Salsify or Goatsbeard. Tragopogon is a genus of flowering plants in the sunflower family (Asteraceae). Some species, such as the Purple Salsify (Tragopogon porrifolius) have edible taproots. The young shoots and leaves can also be eaten. According to Wikipedia, the taste of Purple Salsify root .is described as having the taste of oysters (hence the alternative common name "oyster plant" for some species in this genus), but more insipid with a touch of sweetness."

I'll have to keep a watch out next spring to see this plant in bloom so I can figure out what species we have growing along our roadside.

Photos copyright Michael R. Martin
See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tragopogon for more information

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