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Tragopogon dubius
Tragopogon dubius
Tragopogon dubius.  (Salsify)
Asteraceae (Sunflower Family)

Foothills, montane. Openings, woodlands, fields. Spring, summer, fall.
Lower Calico Trail, September 10, 2007.

Salsify's beautifully symmetrical flower gives way to a huge, puffy silver/white seed head which is really more well known than the flower.

Leaves are narrow and long, plants are straight and up to several feet tall, and one can find plants in flower from spring into fall.

Salsify’s roots are edible and for this reason it was introduced to America by early Europeans and has since spread widely. In the Four Corners area Salsify is common in wild areas, farm fields, and city lots. 

"Tragos" is Greek for "goat" and "pogon" for "beard", thus giving another common name, "Goat’s Beard".

The genus was named by Linnaeus in 1753 and this species was first collected near the Adriatic Sea.

Tragopogon dubius
Tragopogon dubius (Salsify)
Asteraceae (Sunflower Family)

Foothills, montane. Openings, woodlands, fields. Spring, summer, fall.
Horse Creek Trail, August 29, 2007.

The lovely symmetry of Tragopogon dubius makes it difficult to dislike this alien species.  The length and shape of both the ray flowers and the green phyllaries are quite different from those of T. pratensis shown below. 

The gradually tapering, smooth, green pedicel (flower stem) is a characteristic of both Tragopogon species shown on this page.

Tragopogon dubius

Tragopogon dubius

Tragopogon dubius (Salsify)
Asteraceae (Sunflower Family)

Foothills, montane. Openings, woodlands, fields. Spring, summer, fall.
Horse Creek Trail, August 24, 2004 and July 18, 2007.

Salsify seed heads, often four inches in diameter, are a glowing mass of pappus hairs radiating out from the brown seeds. 

In the bottom photograph at left, two vertical, brown seeds are topped by pappus hairs that carry them on the wind.

Tragopogon lamottei

Tragopogon lamottei.   Synonym: Tragopogon pratensis.  (Salsify)
Asteraceae (Sunflower Family)

Foothills, montane. Openings, woodlands, fields. Spring, summer, fall.
Ryman Creek Trail, June 13, 2007.

Tragopogon lamottei occurs at slightly higher altitudes than T. dubius, its ray flower are flattened and serrated at the tip, and the phyllaries (as shown in the photographs below) are edged in maroon. Both species are found in many U.S. states and they are generally considered noxious weeds.

Stems often have a reddish tinge on the sheath where the leaves arch outward. (Those are Wild Strawberries with the white flowers and three-parted leaves.)

Linnaeus named this species in 1753.  The Flora of North America indicates, "the name T. pratensis may prove to be inaccurately assigned to the introduced populations in North America." John Kartesz, ultimate authority for all names on this web site, indicates that the species has, indeed, been "inaccurately assigned" and he accepts the name, "Tragopogon lamottei". (The specific epithet was given by French botanist, Rouy, for the eminent 20th century French ecologist, Maxime Lamotte). (More biographical information about Lamotte).

Tragopogon lamottei

Tragopogon lamottei

Tragopogon lamottei.   Synonym: Tragopogon pratensis.  (Salsify)
Asteraceae (Sunflower Family)

Foothills, montane. Openings, woodlands, fields. Spring, summer, fall.
Ryman Creek Trail, June 13, 2007.

Notice that the green and maroon phyllaries of this species of Tragopogon are the same length as the ray flower petals, in contrast to the very long, green phyllaries of T. dubious.  Also notice that the ray flower petals of T. lamottei are wide and blunt-tipped.

Range map © John Kartesz,
Floristic Synthesis of North America

State Color Key

Species present in state and native
Species present in state and exotic
Species not present in state

County Color Key

Species present and not rare
Species present and rare
Species extirpated (historic)
Species extinct
Species noxious
Species exotic and present
Native species, but adventive in state
Eradicated
Questionable presence

Range map for Tragopogon dubius  

Range map for Tragopogon lamottei