Tragopogon pratensis

Botanical Name: Tragopogon pratensis
Family: Asteraceae
Tribe: Cichorieae
Genus: Tragopogon
Species: T. pratensis
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asterales

Synonyms: Noon Flower. Jack-go-to-bed-at-noon.

Common Names: Meadow Salsify, Showy Goat’s-beard, Meadow Goat’s-beard or Jack-go-to-bed-at-noon
Habitat: Tragopogon pratensis distributed across Europe and North America, commonly growing in fields (hence its name) and on roadsides. It is found in North America from southern Ontario to Massachusetts; most of England; on the eastern and southern edges of Scotland; and central Ireland but not the coastal edges.
Description:
Tragopogon pratensis is an annual/perennial plant . It grows 30 to 100 cm tall.
It is in flower from Jun to July, and the seeds ripen from Aug to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, flies, self. The flower heads are 5 cm wide. They only open in the morning sunshine, hence the name ‘Jack go to bed at noon’. The plant is self-fertile.

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It differs from Viper’s-grass (Scorzonera humilis) in that Viper’s-grass has short, pale green bracts, whereas in Goat’s-beard they are long and pointed.The lower leaves are 10 to 30 cm long, lanceolate, keeled lengthwise, grey-green, pointed, hairless, with a white midrib. The upper leaves are shorter and more erect. It is the only United Kingdom dandelion type flower with grass like leaves.

The achenes are rough, long beaked pappus radiating outwards interwoven like a spider’s web of fine white side hairs (referred to as a “Blowball”

Cultivation:
Succeeds in ordinary garden soils, including heavy clays. Goat’s beard was formerly cultivated as a vegetable, though it has now fallen into disuse[2, 4]. Grows well in the summer meadow. The flowers open at daybreak and close before noon.

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Propagation:
Seed – sow spring in situ. Make sure to water the seed in if the weather is dry.

Edible Uses:    Root eaten raw or cooked. The roots have a sweet flavour due to their inulin content. The young roots can be eaten raw whilst older roots are best cooked like parsnips or salsify. They are often blanched before use. Young leaves and shoots – raw or cooked. They can be added to mixed salads or used in soups etc. The leaves are best used as they come into growth in the spring. The flowering stem, including the buds, is cooked and served like asparagus.
Young shoots and roots of Meadow Salsify can be used in diabetic salads.

Medicinal Uses:
Astringent; Depurative; Diuretic; Expectorant; Stomachic.

Goat’s beard is considered to be a useful remedy for the liver and gallbladder. It appears to have a detoxifying effect and may stimulate the appetite and digestion. Its high inulin content makes this herb a useful food for diabetics since inulin is a nutrient made of fructose rather than glucose units and therefore does not raise blood sugar levels. The root is astringent, depurative, diuretic, expectorant, nutritive and stomachic. A syrup made from the root gives great relief in cases of obstinate coughs and bronchitis. A decoction of the root is given in the treatment of heartburn, loss of appetite and disorders of the breast or liver. The root is harvested in the autumn and dried for later use. The fresh juice of young plants is said to be a good dissolver of bile, relieving the stomach without side effects.

Other Uses:
Cosmetic…….An infusion of the petals is used to clear the skin and lighten freckles. A distilled water made from the plant is used in cleansing lotions for dry skins

In Armenia, rural kids make bubble gum from the juice of meadow salsify. For this purpose, when milky juice is released from the torn stems it is collected on the walls of a glass and dried.
Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tragopogon_pratensis
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/g/goabea23.html
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Tragopogon+pratensis

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