17 June 2009

Western Salsify

I found this growing in the weeds under our maple tree. I thought it was really pretty, so I went ahead and cut the landscaping fabric around it and left it in the bed. It's looking pretty lonely right now, but if we don't get the grass seed down it will have lots of dandelions to keep it company soon. Isn't it pretty?

I didn't have any idea what it is, and the last time I thought something was pretty and left it in my garden, it turned out to be Jimson Weed. So I'm a little choosier now about what I just let grow in my garden. I was going to post these pictures and see if any readers knew what it was, but my chiropractor stopped by yesterday and said she knew. She couldn't remember the name, but she said it is a weed that they spray for around here. Now, that in and of itself isn't really a warning flag. After all, the same is true of dandelions, which are good for all sorts of things.

This plant has a large, thick root, which had no trouble at all growing right through my landscaping fabric:


The blossoms open from these buds, and the green points spread out under the yellow petals. It's really very pretty. I was hoping it wasn't toxic.

The blossoms are only open during the morning. I learned that later, it will get a huge seed head that looks like a giant dandelion. That's when I realized this was in the bed last year, because I remember seeing that and wondering what on earth it was.

My chiropractor called back today and said it's called Salsify, Oyster Root, Noon-flower, or Goat's Beard. With that information in hand I learned that this particular type is actually Western Salsify, and most sites agreed that the root and lower stems are edible. It is a relative of Salsify, which has purple flowers but appears very similar. It is an invasive species. I plan to collect the seeds, and try growing enough next year to harvest a bit and try it.

1 comment:

  1. Have you tried eating any as of yet? I mowed over a plant that had grass like leaves protruding from the center of the stem. I thought it might be nut-sedge, but when I dug it up it had a 6 -7 inch tap root. Where I had nicked it with my trowel it was oozing a white slime. The root has a smell like pea pods. I wanted to clean it up and eat it but thought I should look it up first and that is how I got here. I replanted it for now in my rock bed.

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