Salsify by Maree  Clarkson

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Camera : Canon EOS 550D
Taken in my garden (Tarlton, Gauteng, South Africa)

They say you learn something every day. Today I learnt what Salsify is!

Walking around the area of my wildlife pond, I saw what looked like a GIANT DANDELION, but upon closer inspection, I could see that, besides it’s size, there was something different. So off to Google I went and I’m absolutely thrilled that I have this lovely herb in my garden!

This is a plant with a root, much like a carrot, that can be eaten. Salsify (Tragopogon porrifolius) looks like a giant dandelion, and in a similar fashion, the bright yellow flower turns into a dainty, but large, puffball, dispersing hundreds of seeds into the wind.

Salsify is also known as Goat’s Beard or Vegetable Oyster as their mild and sweet flavor is often compared to that of oysters. Some say they have a slight asparagus or artichoke taste, with an aftertaste of coconut. The leaves of the salsify plant are edible; this root vegetable is not often seen in supermarkets in South Africa, but is as easy to grow as carrots or parsnips.

• Easy to grow. Sow in garden. Sow seed at a depth approximately three times the diameter of the seed. Best planted at soil temperatures between 10°C and 30°C.
• Space plants: 15 – 20 cm apart
• Harvest in 14-21 weeks.
• Compatible with: Beans, Brassicas, Carrots, Celeriac, Endive, Kohlrabi, Leeks, Lettuce, Alliums, Spinach

It is a fairly slow-growing vegetable but can be harvested in small amounts as required. The ground can be loosened with a fork and a few roots lifted for use.

When buying, choose firm, medium-sized salsify, with no damp parts.


Both varieties of salsify oxidize when peeled or cut. Immerse them in water mixed with a little lemon juice or vinegar or boil them whole for 15min before peeling and preparing. Their skin can temporarily stain hands when peeling.

Serving Ideas

Salsify and black salsify are delicious in soups and stews or in a gratin, with béchamel or cheese sauce. They can be eaten cold, dressed with a vinaigrette. Salsify goes well with potato, leek, celery, onion and spinach. They are delicious braised with veal, poultry or fish; they can be glazed in the same way as carrots.


Both varieties of salsify are best used fresh. 
In the fridge: it lasts for several days, unwashed in a loosely closed or perforated plastic bag.


Cook briefly so that the flesh does not become mushy.

Steamed: 10-15 min (recommended 
cooking method).

Boiled: 8-12 min.

Salsify is a good source: potassium and contains vitamin B6, vitamin C, magnesium, folic acid and phosphorus. It also contains insulin (a carbohydrate close to starch), which is suitable for diabetics to eat, as it does not affect blood sugar levels. Salsify is blood thinning and has a decongestant effect on the liver and kidneys.
Some of the info from Wikipedia

Now, the question is, where did it come from…?
Answer – the wind…

Read more about Salsify in Hedgie’s Nature Journal

  1. 2nd February 2013 – FEATURED in African Art and Photography

I am a watercolorist living on my little piece of African soil in Tarlton, Gauteng, South Africa. The inspiration for my art is the wonderfully rich variety of Fauna and Flora to be found throughout this beautiful country.
“There is a fine line between dreams and reality; it’s up to you to draw it.”

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  • LoneAngel
    LoneAngelalmost 2 years ago

    oh wow .. this is stunning !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Aaaah! Thank you Angel, and I really appreciate the fav!

    – Maree Clarkson

  • jozi1
    jozi1almost 2 years ago

    Awesome,Maree :)

  • Thank you Jozi!

    – Maree Clarkson

  • Elizabeth Kendall
    Elizabeth Kendallalmost 2 years ago

    My goodness! How lucky your are… and thanks for all the info!! The wind brought you a gift!

  • Thank you Elizabeth, I feel very blessed indeed for the gift!

    – Maree Clarkson

  • AuntDot
    AuntDotalmost 2 years ago

    Oh my, I was certain it was a dandelion! How very interesting…I had never heard of salsify before!

  • I just wish I could’ve shown the whole plant Dot, but not such a good photo. Glad I’m not the only one that had never heard of Salsify! x

    – Maree Clarkson

  • jozi1
    jozi1almost 2 years ago

  • Thank you for the feature Tony, it’s great to be amongst such lovely selections!

    – Maree Clarkson

  • Elizabeth Kendall
    Elizabeth Kendallalmost 2 years ago

    Congratulations, lovely to share the page with you!

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