Black Salsify (Scorzonera hispanica)

Common names:
Give a thumbs up Black Salsify
Give a thumbs up Viper's Grass
Give a thumbs up Black Oyster Plant
Give a thumbs up Scorzonera

General Plant Information (Edit)
Plant Habit: Herb/Forb
Life cycle: Perennial
Sun Requirements: Full Sun
Water Preferences: Mesic
Plant Height: 2 to 3 feet (61-91cm)
Flowers: Showy
Flower Color: Yellow
Flower Time: Late spring or early summer
Underground structures: Taproot
Uses: Vegetable
Suitable as Annual
Pollinators: Various insects


Posted by LarryR (South Amana, IA - Zone 5a) on Oct 2, 2012 9:39 PM

Schwarzwurzel ("black root") is a vegetable brought to the Amana villages in Iowa ( by a group of German Inspirationists and is still a popular vegetable in German gardens today. Amana folks prepared it by scraping the black skin from the root (in carrot fashion) and simmering it in water or stock, perhaps with onions added, the liquid being thickened to a sauce before serving. The flavor is unique, mild, and delicious. It is quite unlike the American salsify or "oyster root."

Sow in spring and cover to thickness of seed. Roots will be ready to harvest in fall before the ground freezes. At the grower's discretion, roots may be left in the ground to winter over, providing both seed and a larger root the following year. The seeds are harvested when a fluffy down appears on the seed head.

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