Goat's-beard, Meadow, Tragopogon pratensis

Life Cycle

Biennial, occasionally annual or short-lived perennial.

Propagation

Reproducing only by seed.

Stems

The stalk (d) immediately below the flower head is abruptly narrowed to normal stem thickness, and is not hollow.

Leaves

Stem leaves taper quickly into long, slender, curled tips (Fig 6, a), and often have crisped or wrinkled margins.

Flowers and Fruit

Brighter yellow (canary yellow) florets (b) surrounded by usually only 8 green involucral bracts (c) which are about as long as or shorter than the florets (Fig 3,4).

Roots and Underground Structures

Taproot (Fig 8).

Habitat

It occurs throughout Ontario in the same habitats as Goat's-beard (pastures, meadows, roadsides and occasionally continues until September).

Distinguishing Features

Very similar to Goat's-beard in appearance and growth habit but differing from it by having stem leaves which taper more quickly into long, slender, curled tips (a), and often have crisped or wrinkled margins. And the stalk immediately below the flower head is abruptly narrowed to normal stem thickness, and is not hollow. They have a milky sap.

Often Mistaken For

Goat's beard: However the involucral bracts of Meadow goat's beard are as long as or shorter than the florets (Fig 4). With Goat's beard the involucral bracts are much longer than the florets.

Legislation

Noxious under the Ontario Weed Control Act.

Edibility

Plants tend to be bitter, fibrous and strong. Purple salsify (Tragopogon porrifolius), which is in the same genus as goat's-beard, has been used as a vegetable with a root that is described as having the taste of oysters. Tilford, G. (199) Edible and Medicinal plants of the West. Mountain Press Publishing Company. Montana, USA. Zidorn, C., Lohwassen, U., Pschorr, S., Salvenmoser, D., Ongania, K-H., Ellmerer, E., Borner, A., Stuppner, H. (2005). Bibenzyls and dihydroisocoumarins from white salsify (Tragopogon porrifolius subsp. porrifolius). Phytochemistry, 66(14):1691-1697.


Figure #1.

Meadow goat's-beard. (A and D) Top of flowering stem.


Figure #10.

Central Ontario, early June.


Figure #2.


Figure #3.

Flower of meadow goat's-beard.


Figure #4.

Bright yellow flower of meadow goat's-beard.


Figure #5.

Mature 'seed' head.


Figure #6.

Leaves of meadow goat's-beard.


Figure #7.

Stem of meadow goat's-beard.


Figure #8.

Taproot of meadow goat's-beard.