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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)



Foliage Color:


Bloom Characteristics:

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Where to Grow:

Grow outdoors year-round


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)

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun

Sun to Partial Shade


Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:

Bright Yellow

Bloom Time:

Mid Summer




Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

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


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

Socorro, 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

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On May 16, 2017, LazyGardens from Phoenix, AZ wrote:

This has volunteered in various places in my yard, varying from unwatered bare dirt to well-watered flower bed with ample compost.

I conclude that it's not fussy.

So far it's been interesting and not aggressive.


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.


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 ... read more


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!


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.


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, w... read more


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.


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.


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.