Tragopogon pratensis

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Meadow Salsify
Tragopogon pratensis subsp. pratensis bgiu.jpg
Tragopogon pratensis subsp. pratensis
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Asterales
Family: Asteraceae
Tribe: Cichorieae
Genus: Tragopogon
Species: T. pratensis
Binomial name
Tragopogon pratensis
L.
Tragopogon pratense 2004-05-30 JOF.JPG

Tragopogon pratensis (common names Meadow Salsify, Showy Goat's-beard, Meadow Goat's-beard or Jack-go-to-bed-at-noon) is a biennial plant in the Asteraceae family, distributed across Europe and North America, commonly growing in fields (hence its name) and on roadsides. It is found in North America from southern Ontario to Massachusetts; most of England; on the eastern and southern edges of Scotland; and central Ireland but not the coastal edges.

It flowers between June and October and its flowers have a diameter of 3–5 cm. The root and buds are edible, and it has a milky latex.

Description[edit]

It grows 30 to 100 cm tall.

It differs from Viper's-grass (Scorzonera humilis) in that Viper's-grass has short, pale green bracts, whereas in Goat's-beard they are long and pointed.

The lower leaves are 10 to 30 cm long, lanceolate, keeled lengthwise, grey-green, pointed, hairless, with a white midrib. The upper leaves are shorter and more erect. It is the only United Kingdom dandelion type flower with grass like leaves.[1]

The flower heads are 5 cm wide. They only open in the morning sunshine, hence the name 'Jack go to bed at noon'.

The achenes are rough, long beaked pappus radiating outwards interwoven like a spider's web of fine white side hairs (referred to as a "Blowball").[2]

Usage[edit]

Young shoots and roots of Meadow Salsify can be used in diabetic salads.

In Armenia, rural kids make bubble gum from the juice of meadow salsify. For this purpose, when milky juice is released from the torn stems it is collected on the walls of a glass and dried.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Blamey, Fitter, Fitter, Marjorie, Richard, Alistair (2003). Wild Flowers of Britain and Ireland. A & C Black - London. pp. 294–295. ISBN 0-7136-5944-0. 
  2. ^ Rose, Francis (1981). The Wild Flower Key. Frederick Warne & Co. pp. 390–391. ISBN 0-7232-2419-6.