Tragopogon dubius | Yellow Salsify
Known as Yellow Salsify, Western Salsify, Goats Beard, Vegetable Oyster,Oyster Plant, or Giant Dandelion, grows a biennial, or monocarpic perennial. Found east of the Cascades crest in Washington; Alaska to California, and east across most of North America to the Atlantic Coast. These seeds were harvested in the Cascade Mountain range near Leavenworth, WA.
Tragopogon dubius are most commonly found along roadsides, fields, meadows, waste lots, overgrazed areas, and other disturbed open areas at low to middle elevations. Leaves are narrow and long and plants are up to 3.5 ft tall. Flowering from May-September, salsifys beautifully spherical flower head gives way to a giant, puffy white seed head, which is more noticeable than the flower. When the sun hits the seed head, it glistens with a pale bronze color. A giant dandelion.
Can tolerate extreme drought and dry heat. Many species of bees and flies visit the flowers for pollen.
The white roots are similar to parsnips and are edible. It was for this reason it was introduced to America by early Europeans. Eaten raw, the roots are very bitter, but when fried, roasted, or boiled, the taste of salsify roots have been compared to that of parsnips, artichokes, or oysters. They have a sweet flavor due to their inulin content, which also makes this herb a useful food for diabetics since inulin is a nutrient made of fructose rather than glucose units and therefore does not raise blood sugar levels. The flowering stem as well as the buds can be cooked and served like asparagus.
Type: Biennial, or perennial
Sun exposure: Full sun
Mature height: 3.5 ft
Mature width: 18-24 inches
Hardiness zones: 4-8