[Oyster Plants of the Columbia River Gorge]

Yellow Salsify, Oyster Plant

Tragopogon dubius


Yellow salsify is a robust, tall annual or biennial weed. It is more or less branched, and the stout stems arise from 30-100 cm tall. The leaves are thinnly lanceolate, tapering gradually from the enlarged base to a point at the distal end. The involucre has 8-13 bracts, which are usually 2.5-4 cm long. These are longer than the lemon-yellow rays. The seed heads are reminiscent of enlarged dandylion seed heads. The seeds are wind dispersed.

The genus name, Tragopogon, literally means trago-goat and pogon- beard, which refers to the fruiting heads of the seeds, compairing the feathery pappus to the beard of a goat.


Yellow salsify is found along roadsides, and in other disturbed open places.


Yellow salsify is found over much of the United States. It is a native of Europe.

In the Columbia River Gorge, it is found from the western end all the way to the eastern end between the elevations of 100'-3000'.

The photo above shows a close-up side-view of the involucral bracts at the base of the flower head of yellow salsify as seen at about 3000' on the southern side of Mt. Adams..................July 1, 2005. Plants have a somewhat glaucous cast to them.

The photo above and the 3 below show one of many salsify found at Horsethief Butte of reduced height, all flowering at less than 20 cm high.



Paul Slichter