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Tragopogon porrifolius - L.

Common Name Salsify
Family Asteraceae or Compositae
USDA hardiness 4-8
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Found near the sea and estuaries in S.E. England[17].
Range Europe - Mediterranean. Naturalized in Britain[17].
Edibility Rating    (3 of 5)
Other Uses    (0 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Care (info)
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Full sun
Tragopogon porrifolius Salsify
Tragopogon porrifolius Salsify


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Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Tragopogon porrifolius is a BIENNIAL growing to 0.6 m (2ft).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 5 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from June to August, and the seeds ripen from July to September. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Insects.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in heavy clay soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil. The plant can tolerates strong winds but not maritime exposure.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


T. sinuatus. Avé Lall.


 Cultivated Beds;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Flowers  Leaves  Root  Seed  Stem
Edible Uses: Gum

Root - raw or cooked[2, 5, 27, 33, 37, 89]. The young root can be grated in salads[12], older roots are best cooked[183]. The flavour is mild and sweet, and is said to resemble oysters[183, K]. The roots are harvested as required from October until early spring, or can be harvested in late autumn and stored until required[4]. Young shoots - raw or cooked[2, 12, 27, 33, 37, 52, 183]. The new growth is used in spring. A sweet taste[200]. Flowering shoots - raw or cooked[200]. Used like asparagus. Flowers - raw. Added to salads[183]. The sprouted seeds can be added to salads or sandwiches[183]. The root latex is used as a chewing gum[61, 105, 161, 183].


Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.
Antibilious  Aperient  Deobstruent  Diuretic

Salsify is a cleansing food with a beneficial effect upon the liver and gallbladder[254]. The root is antibilious, slightly aperient, deobstruent and diuretic[4, 21]. It is specific in the treatment of obstructions of the gall bladder and jaundice[240] and is also used in the treatment of arteriosclerosis and high blood pressure[254].


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Other Uses


None known

Special Uses


Cultivation details

Succeeds in ordinary garden soils, including heavy clays[4, 200]. Plants do not grow well in stony soils[4]. Prefers an open situation[37] and a cool moist root run[14, 20]. Salsify is occasionally cultivated in the garden for its edible root[2, 89], there are some named varieties[183]. Grows well with mustard[20].


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Seed - sow in situ as early in the year as possible, in March if weather conditions permit[4]. Seed sowings often fail unless the soil is kept moist until the seedlings are growing well[4].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Tragopogon coloratus Biennial0.5 -  LMHNM10 
Tragopogon crocifolius Annual/Biennial0.8 4-8  LMHNM20 
Tragopogon cupani Biennial0.8 -  LMHNM20 
Tragopogon dubiusYellow SalsifyAnnual/Perennial1.0 4-8  LMHNM300
Tragopogon gracilis Perennial0.2 -  LMHNM10 
Tragopogon hispanica Biennial0.0 -  LMHNM20 
Tragopogon pratensisGoat's BeardAnnual/Perennial0.6 3-7  LMHNM32 

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


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Botanical References


Links / References

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Readers comment

Kevin Feinstein   Mon Sep 3 2007

In my area, this is a plant that merits a 5 out of 5 for edible usefulness. I live in a warm microclimate of the Bay Area, California, and this plant is considered a weed. Even though we get hot summers with no rain at all, salsfiy thrives with its deep taproot. The leaves and flowers are edible, and always tasty, never getting bitter. Kids, adults, and chickens alike love the flavor. The roots of course are the best part, and are delicious. I'd like to see this plant grown more, especially in areas where water is in shortage.

feralkevin's permaculture and edible wild foods personal account of salsify

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