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Knobbly Root

A curved, knobbly brown root

Tragopogon pratensis root

“What is that?” I (rhetorically) hear you ask? It is the root of Tragopogon pratensis, or Goat‘s Beard, which I dug up in the garden today. Originally I thought it was some kind of ornamental grass that had slipped into one of the pots we brought up with us from Lewisham and then, when it started to flower in early May I was able to identify it. According to the Plants for a Future database it is edible and used to be cultivated as a crop so I am going to try a small portion for lunch.

If it tastes half decent, I have a tray of seedlings, grown from seeds I harvested from this plant, to put out in the garden. Even if I decide I am not so keen on it, I might still plant some out. It is an attractive plant, with yellow flowers like corseted dandelion heads and large seeds carried by gossamer umbrellas. I have not noticed it self-seeding too aggressively so it could be worth cultivating on looks alone.

Anyway, to the kitchen!

  • Mo

    You’re a braver man than I am Gunga Din! 😉 Do let us know how it tastes.

    • Anonymous

      Well I’m still here, so my source was right that it isn’t dangerous. It wasn’t great although, to be fair few plants are fantastically edible after a couple of months of pumping out seeds. Ignoring the large amount of woody area in the root, the taste wasn’t a bad – it reminded me a bit of cassava or yam.

      I will go ahead with planting out my seedlings and try the roots a bit younger.