Yellow salsify is native to southern and central Europe and western Asia. It was introduced in the early 1900s
to North America, where it has spread widely. In many areas it is considered an invasive. It grows
almost anywhere there is ample sunlight and medium to dry conditions, though plants are usually scattered, not densely clustered.
Plants: Plants are biennial. They appear as a basal rosette in the
first year, producing a stem 8-24" (20-60 cm) high and flowering in the second year. Broken stems
and leaves exude a milky latex.
Flowers: Flowers are 1½-2" (4-6 cm) in diameter, forming from
tall, tapered, blue-green buds. Flowers open in the morning and close in the afternoon. They appear from
late spring to early summer. Sharp, starlike green bracts appear behind the flowerhead, and
are longer and more prominent than in other salsifies.
Fruits: Produces a round pappus (seedhead) up to 4" (10 cm)
around, similar to dandelions. The seedhead is like a pincushion filled with
of achenes, each ⅞-1½" (2.5-4 cm) long, equipped with its own
Edibility: Roots are technically edible, cooked or even raw, but
the plant is not generally consumed. The roots are said to taste similar to oysters, hence the common
name wild oysterplant.