E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Tragopogon porrifolius L.
common salsify (oyster plant; salsify)
Asteraceae (Aster family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Brian Klinkenberg  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #3539)

E-Flora BC Static Map
Distribution of Tragopogon porrifolius
Click here to view our interactive map and legend
Details about map content are available here
Click on the map dots to view record details.

Species Information

Click on the image below to view an expanded illustration for this species.

Biennial herb from a taproot; stems erect, solitary, simple or more commonly branching from the base, glabrous, exuding milky juice when broken, 0.4-1 m tall.
Basal leaves lacking; stem leaves entire, grasslike, tapering uniformly from base to the apex, parallel-veined with clasping bases, 5-30 cm long, 0.5-2 cm wide.
Heads with strap-shaped flowers, solitary, on enlarged, hollow stalks terminating the stems or few branches; involucres 2.5-4 cm tall; involucral bracts lanceolate, swollen at the base, equal, 5-11 or more commonly about 8, barely to strongly surpassing the ray flowers; ray flowers purple; disk flowers lacking.
Achenes elongate, 5- to 10-ribbed, 2.5-7 cm long, tapering to the slender beak; pappus of brownish, slender-tipped, feathery bristles, the feathery branches interwebbed.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

USDA Species Characteristics

Flower Colour:
Blooming Period:
Mid Spring
Fruit/Seed characteristics:
Colour: Brown
Present from Spring to Summer
Source:  The USDA

Habitat / Range

Dry roadsides and waste places in the lowland, steppe and montane zones; infrequent in SC BC, frequent in SW BC, known from Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands; introduced from Europe.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


The climate type for this species, as reported in the: "British Columbia plant species codes and selected attributes. Version 6 Database" (Meidinger et al. 2008), is not evaluated, unknown or variable.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References