Tragopogon dubius Scop.
Yellow Goat's-beard, Yellow Salsify
Rank: Lesser Threat
Plant Type: Forb/Herb
Yellow Salsify attains a height up to 3 feet (.91 m).
After growing as a rosette for a year, plants produce erect, leafy stems that are smooth, round, hollow and fleshy. Each stem has a solitary, terminal flower head. Stems exude a milky juice if cut or broken and are inflated below the flower head.
Leaves are alternate (1 leaf per node), 1 foot (.3 m) long, narrow, and light green. They are fleshy and have smooth edges. Leaf bases broaden where they clasp the stem and narrow to a sharp tip. Leaves look similar to grass blades, but unlike grass, they exude a milky juice if broken.
A single flower head forms at the end of a long, hollow stem. Each flower head is 1-2.5 inches (2.54-6.35cm) wide and composed of many yellow ray flowers. Beneath each flower head are 10 or more green, slender, pointed, leaf-like bracts (phyllaries) that are longer than the ray flowers. Flowers generally open in the morning and close at midday, accounting for the common name Johnny-Go-To-Bed-At-Noon.
Mature seed heads are 3-4 inches (7.62-10.16cm) wide, white, fluffy, round, and similar to but larger than those of dandelions. Length of fruit including beak is about 1.25 inches (3.16cm).
Photo: Mary Ellen (Mel) Harte, Bugwood.org
More images of Tragopogon dubius
Yellow Salsify is a member of the Aster family (Asteraceae) and a biennial. It produces a long and branched taproot. Flowering begins in May and continues until September. A leaf rosette from the first year can usually be detected as dried remnants at the base of a flowering plant. All plant parts exude a milky juice when cut or broken that is sticky and bitter and makes the plant unpalatable to grazing animals. Other Names: Buck’s Beard, Johnny-Go-To-Bed-At-Noon, Goatsbeard, Joseph’s Beard, Noonflower, Noontide, Star of Jerusalem, Western Goatsbeard, Yellow Goatsbeard, Western Salsify
Yellow Salsify can be distinguished from the similar Meadow Salsify (Tragopogon pratensis) which has solid stems not inflated below the flower and phyllaries that do not extend beyond the ray flowers.
The species prefers dry, open sites, growing in meadows, field, and roadsides.
Origin and Distribution
Yellow Salsify, native in Eurasia and Northern Africa, was introduced into the U.S. at the beginning of the 1900’s as a garden plant. It escaped cultivation and became naturalized much of the United States and Canada. It is especially troublesome in perennial horticultural crops.
Other States Where Invasive: AK, AR, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, GA, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MT, NC, ND, NE, NH, NJ, NM, NV, NY, OH, OK, OR, PA, RI, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, VT, WA, WI, WV, WY
Assorted authors. State noxious weed lists for 46 states. State agriculture or natural resource departments.
Haragan, P.D. 1991. Weeds of Kentucky and Adjacent States: A Field Guide. The University Press of Kentucky. Lexington, Kentucky.
Southeast Exotic Pest Plant Council. 1996. Invasive exotic pest plants in Tennessee (October 1999). Research Committee of the Tennessee Exotic Pest Plant Council. Tennessee.
To control, Yellow Salsify should be mown as soon as flowers appear and again later. Badly infested fields should be plowed and cultivated for a year.
Herbicides are available to successfully control this weed in grasslands.