Salsify, Mammoth Sandwich
Also known as "Goatsbeard" or "Vegetable Oyster"; species is Tragopogon porrifolius of the family Asteraceae. Salsify is native to the Mediterranean region, but now grows wild throughout North America, Europe, Australia and southern Africa. Mammoth Sandwich is a cultivated variety that dates back about 150 years. White, tapered roots can grow to 12" long and look somewhat like parsnips but are unrelated. Roots are typically boiled or fried at low temperature and have an oyster-like flavor. Leaves and young stems are also edible.
Cultivate like carrots or parsnips: in deeply cultivated, fine, loose, moderately fertile soil. Harvest in late fall, 120+ days from sowing, being careful not to break the roots, as they will spoil quickly. A biennial, purple flowers form in the summer of the second season, drawing energy from the taproot that survived winter. Flower heads are 2-3" across. Achenes develop in large, fluffy ball-like seed heads with "parachutes" attached to each seed.
Yellow Goatsbeard (Tragopogon dubius) is a related wild species that is sometimes known as "Giant Dandelion". Though smaller, the roots are also edible.
20+ seeds per packet
Latest seeds harvested in August, 2020. Excellent germination in March, 2021.