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When I saw this – I thought, ‘Wow what a massive dandelion!’ My internet research has revealed some interesting information about this beautiful puff ball.

Purple Salsify (Tragopogon porrifolius)
Asteraceae (Sunflower Family).

Purple salsify is a stout, introduced biennial growing to 3-4’ high with alternate linear to lanceolate leaves clasping the stem and milky sap. There are about 90 purple ligulate flowers with 5-pointed tips on each flowering head. With a blooming period of April to July, T. porrifolius is an occasional weed in disturbed places, orchards and fields to as much as 5000’ in elevation, grows in much of the California Floristic Province, and is native to Europe. Another more common species is T. dubius, which also has yellow flowers and phyllaries longer than the ligules, and which may sometimes be encountered in the San Bernardino Mts. Some of the other common names for this species are goatsbeard, vegetable oyster and john-go-to-bed-at-noon. In Europe, it is often grown as a vegetable, and most if not all parts of it are edible.

I found this one on a Stevens Creek Trail in Mountain View on my way home one sunny morning.

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sunshine, wildflower, california, north america

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Comments

  • Vickie Emms
    Vickie Emmsabout 5 years ago

    aren’t they beautiful in the sunshine? We have these here as well, called the Common Goat’s-Beard, and the flowers are yellow. Odd eh that these ones are purple. Perhaps that’s a mistake – my books all say they are yellow and the name is the same (Tragopogon dubius).

  • Hi Vickie, they were just stunning in the sunshine – I was so amazed to see such large fluffy flowers! I fixed the text as I found a more ‘California-centric’ site about the purple bloom (see in pic)… The latin name is changed too, sorry about the confusion :)

    – Trish Peach

  • riverotter
    riverotterabout 5 years ago

    I would think the same, “massive dandelion” … wow, this is really cool Trish. Thanks for adding the information with your glorious flower finds!!!

  • The sunlight looked so good on this huge dandelion that I could not resist a pic. It is funny how RB has got me into this Wildflower discovery trail :)

    – Trish Peach

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