Tragopogon porrifolius L.

purple goat's beard

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New England Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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North America Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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Facts About

Purple goat's beard has ornamental, edible and herbal properties, and is widely introduced. As a vegetable, the plant is known as salsify or vegetable oyster, the roots supposedly tasting like oysters. Medicinal uses have included treatment of gall bladder obstructions, jaundice, arteriosclerosis, and high blood pressure.

Habitat

Anthropogenic (man-made or disturbed habitats), meadows and fields

Characteristics

Habitat
terrestrial
New England state
  • Connecticut
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire
  • Vermont
Leaf type
leaves are simple (i.e., lobed or unlobed but not separated into leaflets)
Leaf arrangement
  • alternate: there is one leaf per node along the stem
  • basal: the leaves are growing only at the base of the plant
Leaf blade edges
the edge of the leaf blade has no teeth or lobes
Flower type in flower heads
the flower head has ray flowers only, meaning all of the individual flowers of the flower head have a strap-shaped ray, which may or may not have teeth at the very tip of the ray
Ray flower color
blue to purple
Tuft or plume on fruit
at least a part of the plume is made up of fine bristles
Spines on plant
the plant has no spines
Leaf blade length
200–400 mm
Disk flower number
0
Show All Characteristics
  • Flowers
    Bract color
    the bracts are not colored or tinged with pink, red or purple
    Bract cycle number
    there is one main cycle of bracts
    Bract outer side hair type
    • the bracts are hairy, with simple hairs on their outer surface
    • the bracts are not hairy on their outer surface
    Bract outer side hairs
    • the bracts are hairy on their outer surfaces
    • the bracts are not hairy on their outer surfaces
    Bract separation
    at least some flower heads have bracts connected to one another at or near their bases
    Bract shape
    • the main bracts are lanceolate (widest above the base, then taper narrowly towards the tip)
    • the main bracts are linear (long and very narrow)
    • the main bracts are of a different shape than the given options
    Bract spines
    the bracts have no spines
    Bract tip shape
    the tips of the bracts acute (have a sharp point)
    Bracts
    the bracts in separate cycles are similar or gradually changing from the outer to inner cycles
    Disk flower color
    NA
    Disk flower lobe number
    NA
    Disk flower number
    0
    Disk flower proportions
    NA
    Disk flower reproductive parts
    NA
    Disk flower shape
    NA
    Flower head number
    each flowering stem has only one to three flower heads on it
    Flower head outer flowers
    at the outer edge of the flower head, each flower has a single enlarged lobe or strap
    Flower head platform
    the base has no bristles or papery scales
    Flower head platform surface
    NA
    Flower head position
    each of the flower heads is separate on its own peduncle (stalk), not clustered in groups
    Flower head profile
    the disk is rounded across the top
    Flower head shape
    the sides of the flower head are roughly parallel, like a cylinder
    Flower type in flower heads
    the flower head has ray flowers only, meaning all of the individual flowers of the flower head have a strap-shaped ray, which may or may not have teeth at the very tip of the ray
    Height of flower head base
    25–70 mm
    Inflorescence branching (Solidago)
    NA
    Inflorescence shape
    NA
    Inflorescence stem
    • hairs are present on the stem of the inflorescence
    • the stem of the inflorescence is not hairy
    Number of bracts at flower head base
    5–16
    Ovary beak
    there is a beak on the ovary
    Ovary cross-section
    the ovary has five or more corners in cross-section
    Ovary hair type
    the ovary has no hairs on it
    Ovary hairs
    the ovary has no hairs on it
    Ovary lines or ribs
    • there are four to six lines or ribs visible on the ovary
    • there are seven to nine ribs visible on the ovary
    • there are ten or more ribs visible on the ovary
    Ovary profile
    in profile, the ovary is another shape
    Ovary surface
    the ovary surface is textured with tiny points, bumps or wrinkles
    Ray flower color
    blue to purple
    Ray flower reproductive parts
    the ray flowers have both carpels and stamens
    Ray flowers
    • 26-50
    • more than 50
    Reproductive system
    all the flowers on the plant contain both carpels and stamens
    Rim at top of ovary
    the central flowers have a disk-shaped platform above the ovary
    Scale tip
    NA
    Smaller bracts at base of bracts
    there is a cycle of much smaller bracts outside the cycle of larger and longer bracts
    Style branch number
    the style has two branches
    Swelling at base of flower head
    the peduncles are obviously swollen near the top, where they attach to the base of the flower head
  • Fruits or seeds
    Number of pappus parts
    11 or more
    Ovary beak length
    15–25 mm
    Ovary length in developed fruit
    10–25 mm
    Seed hair tuft bases
    the pappus hairs are attached to one another near the base
    Seed hair tuft color
    the pappus hairs are tan to dark brown
    Seed hair tuft details
    the pappus hairs have smaller hairs along their sides
    Seed hair tuft length
    20–30 mm
    Seed hairs uniform
    there are two distinct lengths of pappus hairs
    Seed tuft scale number
    12–20
    Seed tuft type
    the pappus is made of very fine hairs or bristles
    Top of disk flower ovary
    NA
    Tuft or plume on fruit
    at least a part of the plume is made up of fine bristles
  • Glands or sap
    Sap
    the sap is milky and opaque, and may be white or colored
  • Growth form
    Growth form
    the plant has one or more free-standing stems
    Plant lifespan
    the plant is biennial, it appears as either first year (non-reproductive) plants or second year plants with flowers or fruit
    Spines on plant
    the plant has no spines
    Underground organs
    there is a thickened taproot on the plant
  • Leaves
    Final leaf segment length (compound lvs only)
    0 mm
    Final leaf segment width (compound lvs only)
    0 mm
    Hairs on underside of leaf blade
    the underside of the leaf is not hairy, or has very few hairs
    Hairs on upper side of leaf blade
    the upper side of the leaf is not hairy, or has very few hairs
    Leaf arrangement
    • alternate: there is one leaf per node along the stem
    • basal: the leaves are growing only at the base of the plant
    Leaf blade base
    the leaf has no petiole
    Leaf blade base shape
    the base of the leaf blade is cuneate (wedge-shaped, tapers to the base with relatively straight, converging edges), or narrow
    Leaf blade bloom
    there is a noticeable powdery or waxy bloom on the underside of the leaf
    Leaf blade edges
    the edge of the leaf blade has no teeth or lobes
    Leaf blade hairs
    NA
    Leaf blade length
    200–400 mm
    Leaf blade shape
    • the leaf blade is lanceolate (lance-shaped; widest below the middle and tapering at both ends)
    • the leaf blade is linear (very narrow with more or less parallel sides)
    Leaf blade surface colors
    there is no noticeable color variation on the upper surface of the leaf
    Leaf blade tip
    • the tip of the leaf blade is acuminate (tapers to a long, thin point)
    • the tip of the leaf blade is acute (sharply pointed)
    • the tip of the leaf blade is caudate (has a very long tail-like projection ending in a point)
    Leaf blade veins
    the leaf blade has one main vein running from the base towards the tip
    Leaf blade width
    5–15 mm
    Leaf disposition
    the leaves are nearly similar in size, prominence of teeth, and length of stalks throughout the stem
    Leaf spines
    NA
    Leaf stalk
    the leaves have no leaf stalks, but attach directly to the stem
    Leaf tip extension
    NA
    Leaf type
    leaves are simple (i.e., lobed or unlobed but not separated into leaflets)
    Leaflet number
    0
    Specific leaf type
    the leaves are simple (i.e., lobed or unlobed but not separated into leaflets
    Teeth per side of leaf blade
    0
  • Place
    Habitat
    terrestrial
    New England state
    • Connecticut
    • Maine
    • Massachusetts
    • New Hampshire
    • Vermont
    Specific habitat
    • man-made or disturbed habitats
    • meadows or fields
  • Scent
    Plant odor
    the plant does not have much of an odor
  • Stem, shoot, branch
    Leaves on stem
    there is at least one full leaf above the base of the flowering stem
    Stem internode hair direction
    the hairs point mostly upwards to outwards
    Stem internode hair type
    • at least some of the hairs on the stem are tangled, matted or woolly
    • the stem has no hairs between the nodes
    Stem internode hairs
    • the stem has hairs between the nodes
    • the stem has no hairs between the nodes

Wetland Status

Not classified

New England Distribution and Conservation Status

Distribution

Connecticut
present
Maine
present
Massachusetts
present
New Hampshire
present
Rhode Island
absent
Vermont
present

Conservation Status

Exact status definitions can vary from state to state. For details, please check with your state.

Massachusetts
unranked (S-rank: SNR)

Native to North America?

No

Sometimes Confused With

Tragopogon dubius

Family

Asteraceae

Genus

Tragopogon

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Information from Dichotomous Key of Flora Novae Angliae

2.  Tragopogon porrifolius L. E

purple goat’s beard. CT, MA, ME, NH, VT. Fields, roadsides, pastures.