No cause for concern: Salsify sightings reported across the South East

In recent weeks Local Land Services has seen numerous samples of salsify (Tragopogon sp.) brought into south east NSW offices for identification, with many landholders concerned about these large, eye-catching biennial plants.

The last 18 months of wet conditions has resulted in significant germinations and now flowering of this plant, said Local Land Services Agricultural Advisor Jo Powells.

“The salsify flowers are quite unique and the purple ones in particular tend to stand out in the paddock — while they are catching the eye of many in the region, they are not a cause for concern,” Ms Powells said.

“There are 50 salsify species worldwide, however only two are found in Australia — Wild salsify (Tragopogon dubius) has a yellow-coloured flower, whereas purple salsify (Tragopogon porrifolius) as its name suggests has a purple-coloured flower.

“Other common names for either of these species include oysterplant, goatsbeard and Johnny-go-to-bed-at-noon.”

Growing up to 1.2 metres high with long strappy green leaves, it’s not until their second year that the flowers of these plant develop and open, quickly followed by the large, dandelion-like seed heads.

Ms Powells said it’s great that people are keeping an eye out for plants they are unfamiliar with and seeking information.

“If you see anything unusual, please contact your council biosecurity staff, local agronomist or your nearest LLS office,” she said.

“This can include, finding plants that quickly spread and take over, and any unusual plants that appear on your property or nearby roads.

“Whilst we are currently seeing salsify growing like a weed in paddocks and along roadsides, it’s often grown as a garden plant in other parts of the world and its taproot consumed just like many root vegetables.

“Species like this will come and go depending upon the seasonal conditions but it’s important that people investigate anything they think is unusual.”

For identification information on salsify, go to the Royal Botanic Gardens PlantNET website:


Both yellow and purple salsify have been reported across the region this season. (Photos: Jo Powells).

The distinct large dandelion shaped seed head of the salsify plant with the unopened, beak shaped seed heads surrounding (Photo: iNaturalist).

Purple salsify

Yellow salsify

The distinct large dandelion shaped seed head of the salsify plant with the unopened, beak shaped seed heads surrounding (Photo: iNaturalist).

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