Tragopogon pratensis (Meadow Goat's Beard)
|Also known as:||Showy Goat's-beard, Meadow Salsify, Jack-go-to-bed-at-noon|
|Habitat:||sun; roadsides, disturbed sites, waste places, fields|
|Bloom season:||May - August|
|Plant height:||1 to 3 feet|
|Wetland Indicator Status:||none|
|MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):|
|National distribution (click map to enlarge):|
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Solitary flower at the top of the stem and at the end of the few branching stems. Flowers are 1 to 2½ inches across with many yellow dandelion-type ray flowers (petals). The 8 (occasionally more) green bracts that surround the flower are as long as or shorter than the petals.
The stem just below the receptacle may be slightly inflated when the plant is fruiting, but not when flowering. The flowers open on sunny mornings and close by noon. The closed flowers resemble a thin pod.
Leaves and stem:
Leaves are grass-like blades, to ¾ inch wide at the base and up to 1 foot long becoming smaller as they ascend the stem, toothless, generally smooth, almost waxy though may have very fine, sparse hairs when young, Leaves abruptly narrow near the base then gradually taper to a pointed tip, and clasp the stem. Leaves are usually coiled or curved at the tip, often in tight curls on upper leaves. Stems are smooth, green or with a whitish cast, may branch near the base of the plant or have multiple flowering stems.
Notes:Meadow Goat's Beard is very similar in appearance to Yellow Goat's-beard, Tragopogon dubius, and found in similar habitats but is not as common in Minnesota as T. dubius. T. pratensis can be distinguished by deeper yellow flowers, the narrower stem just below the receptacle, bracts not extending beyond the rays, and the curling of leaf blade tips.
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Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk, taken in Fillmore and Kanabec counties.
Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?