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'.