Oyster Plant ? - Knowledgebase Question

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Question by twodash
March 12, 2009
I purchased a plant recently and the only tag said Oyster Plant. I just want to know the basics about this plant.

Answer from NGA
March 12, 2009
Oyster plant is Tragopogon porrifolius, also known as goatsbeard or salsify. It needs full sunshine and is a hardy biennial growing to over 4 feet in height with long, smooth, dull green, grasslike leaves. It is native to the Mediterranean region. The leaves are flat, 10-12 inches long and taper from 1 inch wide at the base to a point at the tip. Roots are white, cylindrical, 8-12 inches long and 1 and a half to 2 inches in diameter. Purple flower heads, up to 4 inches across, are formed the spring after planting. Salsify requires a long growing season of 120-150 days to develop marketable sized roots. In the northern states it is planted in the early spring and harvested in the fall before the ground freezes. In areas with hot summers and mild winters fall planting may be best. Salsify is very winter hardy and can withstand freezing weather without damage to the roots. In fact, it has been reported that freezing improves the oyster like flavor of the root. Or, you can just grow it as an ornamental. Good luck with your new plant!

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