Saturday, April 19, 2014

A little Easter Saturday salsify.

Every spring, in amongst Vinoland's landscaping (such as it is), up pops one, or two, Common salsify (Tragopogon porrifolius) plants.  Whereas I'd normally weed out other interlopers (such as vetch, burclover or bittercress), I have come to recognise this rather alien-looking, Mediterranean-native biennial when it is young, so I leave it be.  Salsify, with it's tap root that is cultivated as a culinary vegetable (reportedly tasting mildly like an oyster), has a solitary purple flower that opens in the morning and tracks the progress of the sun until it closes up at around midday - which is the reason why I couldn't get a photograph of this flower yesterday afternoon because, by the time I got my camera, it was already done for the day.
When salsify goes to seed the fruiting head resembles that of a dandelion with a large, fuzzy ball of seeds that disperse on the wind.  This efficient dispersal of seed accounts for the success of salsify's reappearance, and rebirth, every spring.  Appropriate for Easter methinks.