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Tragopogon pratensis - Meadow Salsify

Phylum: Magnoliophyta - Class: Equisetopsida - Order: Asterales - Family: Asteraceae

Tragopogon pratensis, Pasture Goatsbeard

Also known as Goatsbeard or Meadow Goatsbeard, this member of the daisy family (asteraceae) has yellow flowers. typically 5cm across, that only open for a few hours in the morning and then close by midday. (As a result, another name given to this plant is Jack-go-to-bed-at-noon.) Late risers see only the seedheads!

Tragopogon pratensis seedhead

Description

This annual or short-lived perennial (commonly biennial)l plant has narrow lance-like leaves and unbranching upright stems that reach a height of 60cm and occasionalklky more. On to pf the stems each flower is surrounded by long, narrow green bracts, while the impressive seedheads look rather like giant Dandelion seedheads.

Tragopogon pratensis in a field margin

Habitat

Most often seen in the margins of arable-crop fields and roadside verges, Tragopogon pratensis is found occasionally in urban environments, probably because this wildflower was once popular with gardeners.

Distribution

Found throughout most of Europe, including Britain and Ireland (although scarce in Scotland and mainly confined to the south), Meadow Salsify also occurs in many parts of the USA.

Blooming times

Meadow Salsify flowers from April until July. The specimen shown in this page were photographed in France during May.

Tragopogon pratensis flowers are various shades if yellow

Because this wildflower usually grows among other tall vegetation the seed heads are often rather more noticable than the flowers themselves.


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