Tragopogon porrifolius L.

Purple Salsify
Asteraceae (Sunflower Family)


Purple salsify is a stout, introduced biennial growing to 3-4' high with alternate linear to lanceolate leaves clasping the stem and milky sap.  There are about 90 purple ligulate flowers with 5-pointed tips on each flowering head.  With a blooming period of April to July, T. porrifolius is an occasional weed in disturbed places, orchards and fields to as much as 5000' in elevation, grows in much of the California Floristic Province, and is native to Europe.  Another more common species is T. dubius, which also has yellow flowers and phyllaries longer than the ligules, and which may sometimes be encountered in the San Bernardino Mts, and a third member of this genus that is smaller and has yellow ligulate flowers with phyllaries shorter than the ray flowers is T. pratensis, but this is unlikely to be found in Southern California,  Some of the other common names for this species are goatsbeard, vegetable oyster and john-go-to-bed-at-noon.  In Europe, it is often grown as a vegetable, and most if not all parts of it are edible.  These pictures were taken on the Backbone Trail west of Old Topanga Blvd. in May, 2002.

Click here for Latin name derivations: 1) Tragopogon 2) porrifolius.
Pronunciation: tra-GO-po-gon por-i-FO-lee-us.
Click here for Botanical Term Meanings.


Return to Home Page