Helping You Become a More Successful Gardener
Michael Charters, www.calflora.net
Grown mostly for its edible root, salsify is also cultivated for its greens and pretty flowers. A common wildflower in the Mediterranean, and an introduced weed in much of the rest of the temperate world, this biennial has long been popular in European vegetable gardens.
First-year plants form dense rosettes of long, tender, grass-like leaves with milky sap. The leaves are good in salads. The long, creamy-white, parsnip-like tap root matures 4 or 5 months after germination. Unharvested plants flower their second spring and summer, producing solitary rose-purple, daisy-like blooms on tall stems. Young flower shoots can be eaten like asparagus. Large, downy seedheads follow the flowers. Plants often self-sow.
Grow salsify as you would many other root crops, in full sun and deep, fertile, moist, well-drained soil. Some shade is tolerated. In areas with cold winters, sow in spring after the soil warms, and harvest in fall. Seeds are slow to germinate. In warmer zones, sow in fall. Salsify will withstand some frost. Harvest the roots after frost for best flavor. Use the roots raw in salads or cooked in soup, stews or mashes. The cooked roots supposedly taste like oysters, hence another common name, "vegetable oyster."
10 - 1
4 - 10
1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24
Full Sun, Partial Sun
16"-60" / 40.6cm - 152.4cm
8"-12" / 20.3cm - 30.5cm
Spring, Late Spring, Early Summer, Summer, Late Summer
Edible, Herb / Vegetable, Wildflower
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