Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Meadow Salsify, Oyster Plant, Yellow Goat's Beard, Jack-Go-To-Bed-At-Noon
Tragopogon pratensis

Family: Asteraceae (ass-ter-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Tragopogon (tra-go-POH-gon) (Info)
Species: pratensis (pray-TEN-sis) (Info)

6 members have or want this plant for trade.


12-18 in. (30-45 cm)
18-24 in. (45-60 cm)
24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

6-9 in. (15-22 cm)

USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)
USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)
USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun
Sun to Partial Shade

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:
Bright Yellow

Bloom Time:
Mid Summer


Other details:
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)
7.9 to 8.5 (alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall

Seed Collecting:
Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds
Seed does not store well; sow as soon as possible

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There are a total of 13 photos.
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1 positive
4 neutrals
3 negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Neutral Gilliam On May 31, 2010, Gilliam from Denver, CO wrote:

A number of them have shown up in the xeri-hellscape this year. I'm torn between letting them be (the morning flower shower is attractive) or uprooting them. I probably wouldn't waffle over the issue if they hadn't grown abutting some of my perennials.

Neutral jmorth On Jul 11, 2008, jmorth from Divernon, IL (Zone 5b) wrote:

I was recently in plant files to determine a plant when I came across the file on the Goat's Beards and noted what could be a mistaken species designation. In the pratensis variety, the pointed green bracts DO NOT extend beyond the yellow ray flowers; however in the species designation T. dubius, the pointed green bracts DO extend beyond the yellow ray flowers. At least, so say my sourcebooks: Illinois Wildflowers (by Kurz), Roadside Plants & Flowers (by M S Edsall), Wildflowers and Weeds (by Courtenay and Zimmerman), Field Guide to Wild Flowers by (Peterson/McKenny), and Newcomb's Wildflower Guide (by G Newcomb). These designate and/or illustrate T. porrifolius (the purple flowered kind) with the bracts extended beyond the ray flowers, T. pratensis bracts do not extend beyond the ray flowers-the bracts "support the ray flowers", and T. dubius where the bracts do extend beyond ray flowers.
D G admin asked that I post here to see if you had any input or objection to changing the species designation.
Thanks for your consideration.

Neutral pixilated On Nov 10, 2007, pixilated from Hazel Green, AL (Zone 7a) wrote:

This plant blew in from who knows where and sprouted up in my front yard. I grow only California natives in my front yard and so watched with interest as this grassy, seemingly delicate plant sprouted up and put out its first flower bud. I was very dissapointed in the purple colored, daisy-like flowers as they seemed to open up at dawn and close before I could really get a good look at them. However, I loved the seed heads on this plant! They were huge, bronzed dandylion looking things that just seemed to glow in the sun. BTW, the purple variety seemed to thrive in our 100+ summer heat with NO WATER! In retrospect I feel bad for my neighbors now that I have read the other comments on its weedyness!

Negative Joan On Dec 28, 2004, Joan from Belfield, ND (Zone 4a) wrote:

I didn't realize this plant was considered a vegetable. To me it's still a weed that is as hard to get rid of as dandelions. It grows in pastures here, but since there's pastures close by, the seeds travel with the wind and get transplanted in my yard, where I water alot and they take root easily.

Positive BotanyDave On Dec 16, 2004, BotanyDave from Norman, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

I can never wait 'til spring when this geat vegetable begins to pop up! I wander my usual haunts, looking for the tell-tale leaves and fluffy white stuff. Before the flower bud opens and the stems still freshy, I remove the stem, remove most leaves, rinse, and steam them. Add butter and salt. They taste Exactly like Asperagus- but without the estranging after-effects of the latter. Sometimes I can harvest into mid summer- there's always the occasional plant hiding in the shade under a sumac.
Transplanting is a bit of trouble, as it's hard to remove the entire taproot without damaging it. With any luck I'll have a few plants in my garden next year. Sadly, my garden plants won't be re-seeding, as they won't get to that stage- with me picking the flowers before they open. Oh, well. At least the wild ones are pretty hardy! :)

Negative 433kfj On Nov 12, 2004, 433kfj from klamath falls, OR (Zone 6a) wrote:

My step-grandmother told me they used to grow this stuff in their garden when she was a little girl during the depression.Now it grows like a weed (like dandelions, as noted above) and is extremely hard to remove from dry ground because of its large tap-root. If you break the root, it just re-sprouts. I have seen yellow and more rarely purple flowered forms. The purple is some-what striking, but due to its rangy,weedy look I would never consider growing it on purpose.P.S. The seed heads are just like giant versions of dandelion and spread the same way.

Negative Toxicodendron On Apr 30, 2004, Toxicodendron from Piedmont, MO (Zone 6a) wrote:

Unfortunately, this wildflower has become quite an invasive weed here in our area, coming up from seed like dandelions, and just as hard to remove.

Neutral Lilith On May 4, 2002, Lilith from Durham
United Kingdom (Zone 8a) wrote:

Native to Northern Europe, Goat's-beard is a familiar roadside plant, not for the pale yellow flowers, but for the fruiting heads which look like enormous dandelion-clocks. The greyish parachutes have feathery bristles, the fine hairs distinctly interwoven. The common name derives from these conspicuous fruits. Unlike the Dandelion, Goat's-beard has narrow, almost grass-like leaves, without lobes. Its long tap-roots were formerly used as a vegetable.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Fayetteville, Arkansas
Claremont, California
Denver, Colorado
Aurora, Illinois
Divernon, Illinois
Freedom, Maine
Bay City, Michigan
Concord, New Hampshire
Dover, New Hampshire
Kearny, New Jersey
Farmington, New Mexico
Belfield, North Dakota
Columbus, Ohio
Newark, Ohio
Hulbert, Oklahoma
Klamath Falls, Oregon
Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania
Memphis, Tennessee
Fort Worth, Texas
Spokane, Washington
Hurricane, West Virginia
Merrimac, Wisconsin
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Onalaska, Wisconsin

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