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)

Category:

Biennials

Height:

24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

Spacing:

12-15 in. (30-38 cm)

Hardiness:

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

Danger:

N/A

Bloom Color:

Violet/Lavender

Purple

Bloom Time:

Mid Spring

Late Spring/Early Summer

Mid Summer

Late Summer/Early Fall

Foliage:

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:

Non-patented

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

Regional

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 (2 reports)

Blue Springs, Missouri

Neptune, New Jersey

Tonawanda, New York

Ashland, Oregon

Greencastle, Pennsylvania

Wild Rose, Wisconsin

show all

Gardeners' Notes:

2
positives
1
neutral
0
negatives
RatingContent
Positive

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

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

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

Positive

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.