Page authors: Don Knoke, David Giblin
Tragopogon porrifolius
oyster plant, purple salsify

Distribution: Occurring on both sides of the Cascades crest in Washington; British Columbia to California, east across North America to the Atlantic Coast.

Habitat: Roadsides, fields and waste places, usually where moist.

Flowers: April-August

Origin: Introduced from Europe

Growth Duration: Biennial

Conservation Status: Not of concern


Glabrous biennial, 4-10 dm. tall, often branched, with milky juice.


Leaves elongate, up to 30 cm. long and 2 cm. wide, tapering gradually from the base.


Heads solitary at the ends of branches, the peduncles enlarged and hollow under the heads; involucral bracts in a single series, equal, 5-11, 2.5-4 cm. long in flower, distinctly surpassing the purple, ligulate corollas, elongating to 4-7 cm. in fruit; pappus of a single series of whitish, uneven-length, plumose bristles, the plume branches interwebbed.


Achenes stout, 2.5-4 cm. long, the body 10-16 mm. long, abruptly contracted to the long, slender beak.

Accepted Name:
Tragopogon porrifolius L.
Publication: Sp. Pl. 2: 789. 1753. 1753.

Synonyms & Misapplications:
(none provided)
Additional Resources:

PNW Herbaria: Specimen records of Tragopogon porrifolius in the Consortium of Pacific Northwest Herbaria database.

WA Flora Checklist: Tragopogon porrifolius checklist entry.

E-Flora BC: Tragopogon porrifolius atlas page.

CalPhotos: Tragopogon porrifolius photos.

USDA Plants: Tragopogon porrifolius information.

27 photographs:
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