Friday, August 8, 2014

Goat's Beard Flowers: in Bloom, and Seed Head

Goat's Beard flower gone to seed.   © SB 
To my eye, the seed head of Goat's Beard — a near softball-sized puffball — is far more attractive than its greenish yellow flower.

This white fluff is also the reason for the plant's name, a connection dating back to the third century BCE Greek philosopher Theophrastus, says a Montana State University leaflet. (These plants have been recognized among us for a long time!)

Goat's Beard is a prairie wildflower that's fairly common along roadsides and waste areas, in the city as well as in rural areas.

To see Goat's Beard flowers at their best, look for them early on sunny mornings, before they close for the afternoon.

Prairie Beauty says the flower aren't likely to open when it's cloudy or rainy, either.  Which makes sense, based on their other name: Yellow Salsify, as 'salsify' means a plant that follows the sun.)

Goat's Beard is not native to North America, but was a common food plant in Northern Europe in the middle ages, the MSU leaflet says. Prairie Beauty explains that the young leaves and roots of immature plants are edible. (Not that I plan to try this, but then, I don't appreciate the taste of Dandelion leaves, either.)

Goat's Beard flower, mid-morning on a sunny day.  © SB 

Prairie Wildflower: Goat's Beard
Location:  Top, Regina, Saskastchewan, Canada; bottom, near Muenster, Saskatchewan, Canada.
Photo Dates: Top. July 4, 2012; bottom, July 21, 2014. 


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