feralculture gardening local food permaculture tending the wild wild food

Salsify — wild permaculture

This is one of my favorite plants. Salsify (Tragopogon porrifolius) is a forager’s wonderplant. All parts are edible (and good!). It only becomes too tough when in flower, but the cool thing is the flowers are also edible — and good. Salsify was traditionally grown in Europe as a vegetable but since has fallen out of favor. In many areas, such as here where I am, this plant grows wild. And beyond that, since the root is the most choice part, it actually provides a substantial amount of food. In a survival situation, the root of this plant could sustain you for quite some time. In some places it’s called Goatsbeard, because of its large puffballs of seeds that are wind dispersed like a dandelion. When the sun hits the fluff it shines golden, and is quite beautiful. Many people also consider it a noxious invasive weed, and kill it any chance they get. In my garden I wild manage it, by not pulling it or weedwhacking it, and let many go to seed. You can cook it just like potatoes or parsnips, my recipe is simple: Pour a generous amount of olive oil in a pan, wash and chop (don’t peel!) the salsify and bake it at 350 degrees for 20 -30 minutes.


I also want to point out that many people pronounce the common name of this plant differently than I do. They say sal (as in Sally) sif (as in “if”) eye. sal sif eye. God bless linguistic diversity (or what’s left of it.) There is no one right way to pronounce salsify, is what I say.