Goats – beard (Tragopogon pratensis)

Some of the wild flowers on our farms are difficult to spot – due to their preference of soil types and shade etc. Goatsbeard is fairly unique as it chooses to flower only at certain times of day and generally only in good weather ! Therefore it can be difficult to locate ! We find Goatsbeard in yard and edges of tracks.

single yellow flower of goats beard

Goatsbeard is a stately member of the daisy family that stands tall and robust. The roots are parsnip like and the plants stands between 40 – 75cm tall. The yellow flower-heads are solitary with eight bracts united at the base and are usually 2-4 cm wide.

One of the folk names of this plant is “John-go-to-bed-at-noon” due to the fact that its stunning flowers are usually open only from four o’clock in the morning, till midday. Goatsbeard flowers in June and July. The seed heads are a large “clock” of white feathery seeds around 12cm across.

fluffy seedhead of goatsbeard wild flower

The roots of this plant were once dug up and stored over winter to eat as a vegetable, and the young shoots were boiled and eaten as asparagus.