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(Tragopogon porrifolius)

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Growing Salsify Plants Stand of Mature, Flowering Salsify Plants Close-up of Salsify Flowers
Growing Plants Root Stand of Mature Flowering Plants Close-up of the Flowers
Salsify remains fairly uncommon in North American markets and restaurants -- enjoyed by an elite few.  It has many attributes which make a worthy plant to cultivate in your home garden.

A native of central and southern Europe, salsify is part of the sunflower family.  The mature roots look like a sickly parsnip that is covered in small grassy sprouts.  However, the flavor of the long, pale, creamy white skinned root is much more interesting.  Some people think that it has a flavor akin to asparagus while others describe it as a delicate taste of oysters.

If you are looking for a fresh vegetable for your winter dinner table, salsify is a hearty root that over winters well.  It is ready to begin lifting in October and can be left in the soil until April.  In colder climates, you may be required to heavily mulch with straw to protect from freezing.  In extremely cold areas, lifting and storing in sand in a root cellar, like other root crops, will be necessary.

Look for well developed specimens that are heavy for their sized and as straight (not too gnarled) as possible.  They may be stored, unwashed, in plastic for up to a week in the refrigerator.

Because of its nutritional value, salsify is included as a "Very Special Survival Vegetable" by John A. Freeman in his 1982 classic, "Survival Gardening."

General Nutrition Information:

  • Fat and cholesterol free.
  • Low in sodium.
  • High in dietary fiber.

Nutritional Facts

Serving Size 1 cup cooked (135g)

Amount Per Serving


Total Fat 0g
Protein 3.7g
Carbohydrates 21g
Dietary Fiber   4.2g
     Sodium 21.6mg
     Potassium 382mg
     Calcium 63.5mg
Vitamin C 6.2mg

Source:  U. S. D. A. Nutrition Database


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