Tragopogon porrifolius, common salsify, purple salsify, oyster plant, vegetable oyster, Jerusalem star, Jack go to bed, goatsbeard, garden Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC Pacific Northwest

Purple Salsify

Mt Tolmie camas in bloom
photo by SVSeekins

I was marvelling over the camas meadow on Mt Tolmie when a friend pointed out another wildflower.  I’m so glad DL distracted me. The profusion of camas is beautiful, but so is this new discovery.

Tragopogon porrifolius, common salsify, purple salsify, oyster plant, vegetable oyster, Jerusalem star, Jack go to bed, goatsbeard,
photo by SVSeekins

It’s only a single bloom… almost hidden in the tall meadow grass…
insignificant in comparison to the flamboyant camas.

But once I get close enough to look into the flower itself —  I’m delighted.
It’s so pretty!

Tragopogon porrifolius, common salsify, purple salsify, oyster plant, vegetable oyster, Jerusalem star, Jack go to bed, goatsbeard,
photo by SVSeekins

I love the colour…
the simplicity of the daisy-like, purple petals…
The extensions of the supporting bracts behind the petals suggest an explosion…
And the yellow pistles are the sparkle at the end of a fireworks display…

I don’t recognize this flower, but it really reminds me of the Yellow Salsify I noticed along a trail at Fairmont Hot Springs a few years ago…

Tragopogon dubius, yellow salsify, western salsify, wild oysterplant wester goat's-beard, goatsbeard, common salsify, Tragopogon major
photo by SVSeekins

They’ve gotta be related, right?

My trusty wildflower guide only lists the flower called Yellow Salsify.
(That’s what I saw near the hot springs…)
But the fine print in the description talks about a Purple Salsify – Bingo!

salsify seedhead
photo by SVSeekins

It’s a member of the aster family & related to a dandelion…
(That reminds me of the 4-inch wide Salsify seedhead that astounded me in Oregon near the Deschutes River.  — It’s all coming together now!  🙂  )

Tragopogon porrifolius, common salsify, purple salsify, oyster plant, vegetable oyster, Jerusalem star, Jack go to bed, goatsbeard,
photo by SVSeekins

Even though I’m not familiar with it, Purple Salsify is a fairly common biennial.  Europeans farmed it during the middle ages:

  • a carrot-like root,
  • a substitute for potato,
  • & a taste a bit like oysters.  Hmmm… gourmet ????

In some circles, it’s considered an ornamental… that makes sense to me.

Others call it a weed.  Good Grief!

I guess it’s all perspective.

-30-

 

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