Purple salsify is a flowering plant that was introduced to BC from Europe. It has long, thin, tapered leaves, and a single stem that produces a large purple flowerhead. The seeds grow in a large cluster, with each seed attached to a feathery “parachute” called a pappus. This allows the seeds to be dispersed by the wind. Salsify usually grows in dry, sunny habitats, and are commonly found in Garry Oak ecosystems.
Salsify is commonly grown in gardens as an ornamental plant. It also has an edible taproot, which can be boiled, mashed, or fried similarly to a potato. These roots are a good source of potassium, calcium, vitamin B, and vitamin C. Another name for purple salsify is “oyster plant”, because the root has an oyster-like flavour.
For more information about purple salsify, visit E-Flora BC.