Yellow Salsify

Tragopogon dubius

Salsify 4

Goatsbeard, Tragopogon sp., is in the family of Asters. Some common names are: oyster plant, salsify, and Johnny-go-to-sleep-at-noon. There are several species of Tragopogon in the western United States. The species that is most common in our area of New Mexico is Western Salsify, or Tragopogon dubius.

Goatsbeard can be either biennial or perennial. Biennial means it grows its roots one year and then grows its flower the next year. Perennial means that it flowers every year and the plant’s roots live through the winter. Goatsbeard has a strong taproot and milky sap. The flowers are yellow in the Bosque, but they can be purple elsewhere. Goatsbeard gets pollinated by bees and flies. The seeds are 2-4 cm long, and they get dispersed by the wind.

Salsify is a vegetable. People usually eat the root of the Purple Salsify (Tragopogon porrifolius) and the young leaves are also edible.

Goatsbeard is native to Europe and Asia and was introduced in the early 1900s to America. Tragopogon species can be weeds because they can grow in all kinds of habitats, and they like full sun. They are now invasive in the United States.


by Matthew, age 8

Sources and Credits

  1. (c) José María Escolano, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC-SA),
  2. (c) Murray Foubister, some rights reserved (CC BY-SA),
  3. (c) José María Escolano, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC-SA),
  4. Adapted by albuquerqueherbalism from a work by (c) forestdragon, some rights reserved (CC BY-SA)

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