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Salsify, Oyster Plant

The long taproots of salsify are said to have an oyster flavor.
The long taproots of salsify are said to have an oyster flavor.

Salsify is a hardy biennial that is grown as an annual vegetable. It's related to dandelion and chicory, and its flowers look like lavender chicory blossoms. The edible part is the long taproot. Some people claim that salsify has a slight oyster flavor, hence the name "oyster plant."

Common Names: Salsify, oyster plant, goatsbeard

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Scientific Name: Tragopogon porrifolius

Hardiness: Hardy (may survive first frost)

In the next section, we'll show you how to grow salsify, oyster plant.

salsify, oyster plant? Try:

salsify, oyster plant? Try:

  • Vegetable Recipes: Find delicious recipes that feature salsify, oyster plant.
  • Vegetable Gardens: Grow a full harvest of great vegetables this year.
  • Gardening: We answer your questions about all things that come from the garden.
  • Salsify Stain Help: Learn how to remove vegetable stains from fabric.

Salsify is related to the tenacious dandelion.
Salsify is related to the tenacious dandelion.

Salsify is hardy and tolerates cold. Like its prolific cousin the dandelion, it's easy to grow anywhere in the United States.

Prepare rich soil by removing all stones and lumps. Plant salsify from seed two or three weeks before the average date of last frost. Plant the seeds 1/2 inch deep. When seedlings are large enough to handle, thin them to stand 2 to 4 inches apart. Don't overfertilize; it will cause the roots to fork and split. Keep the plants evenly moist to prevent the roots from getting stringy.

Harvesting Salsify, Oyster Plant

The time from planting to harvest is about 120 days. Salsify roots can tolerate freezing, so leave them in the ground until you want them. The longer they're out of the ground, the less they taste like oysters. To harvest, dig up the whole root.

Types of Salsify, Oyster Plant

  • Sandwich Island Mammoth, 120 days, is the most widely available variety.
  • Fiore Blue, 115 days, has delicate flavors.

Want more information about salsify, oyster plant? Try:

  • Vegetable Recipes: Find delicious recipes that feature salsify, oyster plant.
  • Vegetable Gardens: Grow a full harvest of great vegetables this year.
  • Gardening: We answer your questions about all things that come from the garden.
  • Salsify Stain Help: Learn how to remove vegetable stains from fabric.

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