Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Vegetable Oyster Plant, Salsify, Wild Quinine
Tragopogon porrifolius

Family: Asteraceae (ass-ter-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Tragopogon (tra-go-POH-gon) (Info)
Species: porrifolius (po-ree-FOH-lee-us) (Info)

14 members have or want this plant for trade.


24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

12-15 in. (30-38 cm)

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)

Sun Exposure:
Sun to Partial Shade


Bloom Color:

Bloom Time:
Mid Spring
Late Spring/Early Summer
Mid Summer
Late Summer/Early Fall

Grown for foliage

Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall
Direct sow as soon as the ground can be worked
From seed; direct sow after last frost

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 17 photos.
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2 positives
1 neutral
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive ClimbTheMtns On Jun 3, 2013, ClimbTheMtns from Walnut Creek, CA wrote:

Salsify has become one of my new most favorite plants. It's spherical seed head is astoundingly symmetrical. It self-seeds like there's no tomorrow. And it requires so little water.

Neutral Robubba On Dec 30, 2008, Robubba from Moulton, IA wrote:

Salsify helps carrots, lettuce, onions, and leeks in companion planting.

Positive wilsweb On Jul 22, 2004, wilsweb from London
United Kingdom wrote:

There is a growing area of salsify in the India Dock basin bird sanctuary next to the Thames in London.

The plant does indeed close its petals around noon. The alternative name Oyster plant is because the edible root is supposed to smell like oysters! The salsify is white rooted while its relative scorzonera has blackish roots.


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

Arroyo Grande, California
Claremont, California
Folsom, California
Hayward, California
Imperial Beach, California
Merced, California
Oakland, California
Vacaville, California
Blue Springs, Missouri
Neptune, New Jersey
Tonawanda, New York
Ashland, Oregon
Greencastle, Pennsylvania
Wild Rose, Wisconsin

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