yellow goat’s beard

(Tragopogon dubius)

Conservation Status
yellow goat’s beard
  IUCN Red List

not listed


NNA - Not applicable

SNA - Not applicable


not listed


Yellow goat’s beard is a 1 to 3 tall, erect, biennial forb that rises on one or more stems from a fleshy taproot.

In its first year it shows only a rosette of basal leaves. In the second year it sends up one or more sparingly branched, sparsely-leaved stems that terminate in a single flowering stalk with a solitary flower head. The stems and leaves are grayish-green or bluish-green and exude a milky sap when broken.

The grass-like leaves are alternate, clasping, untoothed, and between linear and lanceolate in shape. They get up to 12 long and ¾ wide, though most are closer to ¼ wide. They taper evenly from the base to the tip. They do not bend backward, even at the tip. Young leaves have tufts of long, soft, tangled hairs. Older leaves become almost hairless except at the leaf axils. The leaf surface is fine, not rough.

The inflorescence is a solitary flower head, 1½ to 2 wide, at the end on a long, leafless flower stalk. The flower stalk is hollow and is swollen just below the flower head. The flower head has many pale yellow outer ray florets about 1 long. There are 13 bracts at the base of the flower head that extend well beyond the outer margin of the rays. There may be only 8 bracts on smaller plants and on later heads. The flower heads open in the morning and are closed by the afternoon.

The fruiting head is a whitish, spherical pappus, about 3 in diameter, resembling a large dandelion.




12 to 36


Flower Color


Pale lemon yellow


Similar Species


Meadow salsify (Tragopogon pratensis) leaves are curved backward or coiled. The peduncle is not inflated at the tip when the plant is in flower. There are usually 8, occasionally 12, bracts. The bracts do not extend beyond the ray florets. The ray florets are lemon yellow or bright yellow. It is found in moister habitats.


Dry. Roadsides, disturbed sites. Full sun.




May to July


Pests and Diseases






Distribution Map



2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 22, 24, 28, 29, 30.




Native to western Asia and to Europe. Introduced and naturalized in North America.





  Kingdom Plantae (green algae and land plants)  
  Subkingdom Viridiplantae (green plants)  
  Infrakingdom Streptophyta (land plants and green algae)  
  Superdivision Embryophyta (land plants)  
  Division Tracheophyta (vascular plants)  
  Subdivision Spermatophytina (seed plants)  
  Class Magnoliopsida (flowering plants)  
  Superorder Asteranae  


Asterales (sunflowers, bellflowers, fanflowers, and allies)  


Asteraceae (sunflowers, daisies, asters, and allies)  
  Subfamily Cichorioideae (chicories, dandelions, and allies)  
  Tribe Cichorieae (lettuce, chicory, dandelion, and salsify)  
  Subtribe Scorzonerinae  
  Genus Tragopogon (salsifies)  

Subordinate Taxa






Tragopogon dubius ssp. major

Tragopogon major


Common Names


common salsify

fistulous goat’s-beard

goat’s beard


greater sand goat’s-beard

meadow goat’s-beard


western goat’s beard

western salsify

wild oysterplant

yellow goat’s beard

yellow salsify










Modified leaf at the base of a flower stalk, flower cluster, or inflorescence.



Describing a leaf that wholly or partly surrounds the stem but does not fuse at the base.



Lance-shaped; much longer than wide, thickest toward the base, and gradually tapering toward the tip.



Long, straight, and narrow, with more or less parallel sides, like a blade of grass.



The modified calyx composed of awns, scales, bristles, or feather-like hairs in plants of the Aster family such as thistles and dandelions.

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    yellow goat’s beard      


    yellow goat’s beard   yellow goat’s beard  
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Flower Head with 8 Bracts

    yellow goat’s beard   yellow goat’s beard  
    yellow goat’s beard   yellow goat’s beard  

Flower Head with 13 Bracts

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    yellow goat’s beard      

Fruiting Head

    yellow goat’s beard   yellow goat’s beard  
    yellow goat’s beard      

Young Plant

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  Tragopogon dubius
Matt Lavin
  Tragopogon dubius  

Introduced taprooted biennial to short-lived perennial, stems to 1 m tall and bearing entire leaves, involucral bracts in one equal series, peduncle swollen, rays yellow, pappus of capillary bristles, common in grasslands, meadows, and sagebrush steppe, typically sites with a history of disturbance. The leaves in the first year leafy rosette can be mistaken from grass except that the tips can be readily plucked off to expose the milky sap.

  Goats Beard
  Goats Beard  

Copyright DianesDigitals

  Fistulous Goatsbeard
Andree Reno Sanborn
  Fistulous Goatsbeard  

(Tragopogon dubius) Single yellow flower head on smooth stem; flower head all rays; involucral green bracts longer than rays. Grass-like leaves up to 1' (30 cm) long, broad at base where clasp stem, narrow to long sharp tip. Aster family. Source:

  Tragopogon dubius | Yellow Salsify (Pt 1 of 2)

Published on Jun 12, 2013

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Photos used under protection of the "fair use" section (107) of the U.S. copyright act of 1976.

  Tragopogon dubius | Yellow Salsify (Pt 2 of 2)

Published on Jun 12, 2013

MNEMONIC NOTE: This plant is 1 of 3 in this course that have the word "lion" in the nickname (Lion's Paw, Dead-The-Lion, Lion's Boat). All 3 resemble or is the Dandelion and are distinguished, from one another, by their leaves. The leaves are then the springboard to their perspective mnemonics. So... What's the first thing to do when you see a lion in the area? Leave (leaf)! That means: When you see a lion immediately look at the leaves.

PRE-MNEMONIC: When you see a lion in the field immediately leave the area. Leaves that look like grass (associated with cows) lets you know that you might have the Lion's Boat plant.

MNEMONIC EXPLAINED: A cow (associated with grass [plant leaves are grass-like] and milk [exudes a milk sap when broken]) and a rabbit (associated with carrots [roots are stout and tapered; carrot-like; beige not orange; grass-like leaves also grow out of root top (carrot top-ish); grass-like leaves partially encircle developing stem and flowering stem at their base] and big ears [represent bracts that extend beyond flowerhead margin/edge/radius like ears extend beyond rabbit's head]) wanted to go across water for greener pastures. They accepted a ride from a lion (flowerheads and puff-ball seedheads resemble dandi-LION but are much larger) who offered to transport them, on his boat (leaf tips are keeled [bottom of boat]), with a promise of not eating them. During the journey, like in a cartoon, when the lion looked at the cow he saw a glass of milk and when he looked at the rabbit he saw a chocolate bunny (lion, cow and rabbit are closely tied or associated in this sentence in a way that by thinking of one will remind you of the others; important because leaves and roots are best [though edible] before flowering stem has developed; find just grass-like leaves in the field, easily associate them with a cow, cow is tied to milk that is tied to chocolate that is tied to rabbit/bunny; both cow and rabbit is tied to the lion [in case you see the lion in the field first]. Unable to resist himself he started chasing them around and around. All of the running around in circles triggered a whirlpool. The lion caught them and swallowed the chocolate and the milk. The whirlpool swallowed the lion (the stem becomes enlarged and hollow underneath flowerhead; enlarge, hollow stem represents the whirlpool and the flowerhead represents the lion). OPTION 1: As you vividly imagine the lion being swallowed by the whirlpool, notice all of the blood on his tan fur appears purple (1 of 2 look-alikes have purple flowers [they also may not have bracts/ears that extend as far beyond the flowerhead]; look-alikes can be used identically) not red. OPTION 2: Vividly imagine the lion consuming the chocolate bunny as we all did/do, by biting the ears off first (2 of 2 look-alikes don't have bracts/ears that extend far beyond flower margin; look-alike bracts will be slightly shorter, slightly longer or even with flower margin). NOTE: Both look-alikes can be used/prepared/eaten as Lion's Boat.




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Other Videos
  The perfect parachute

Published on Jun 7, 2013

Dispersal of seeds away from the parental plant is very important for diffusion and plants invest resources in a variety of structures specialized for this task. Wind dispersal is a particularly common strategy; many species rely on winged or plumed seeds to increase the efficiency of dispersal. The dispersal distance of a wind-dispersed seed is influenced by wind speed, the height at which the fruit is released, and the rate at which the seed falls to the ground. For this reason many plants evolved structures which decrease the terminal velocity of their seeds so that seeds can be spread out further.

  Yellow Salsify (Tragopogon dubius) ~ Introduced Species
Wandering Sole TV

Published on Jul 19, 2013

Yellow Salsify (Tragopogon dubius), a member of the sunflower family, is an introduced species to North America, originating in Central Europe and Western Asia. It goes by wide variety of other names including western salsify, western goat's-beard, wild oysterplant, yellow goat's beard, goat's beard, goatsbeard, common salsify, and salsify. It now grows throughout the majority of the United States and Canada.

  Western Salsify / Tragopogon dubius

Published on Nov 19, 2013

Cricket Sounds from "The Sounds of Nature Collection":




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  Bill Reynolds

Location: Pennington Co.

yellow goat's beard  

Afton State Park

Agassiz Dunes SNA (MN DNR)

Anna Gronseth Prairie

Antelope Valley SNA

Avon Hills Forest SNA, North Unit

Baker Park Reserve

Belgium Prairie

Bertram Chain of Lakes Regional Park

Big Stone Lake State Park

Blanket Flower Prairie SNA

Blue Devil Valley SNA

Blue Mounds State Park

Bonanza Prairie SNA

Boot Lake SNA

Buffalo River State Park

Bunker Hills Regional Park

Butternut Valley Prairie SNA

Butterwort Cliffs SNA

Camden State Park

Carpenter St. Croix Valley Nature Center

Carver Highlands WMA, South Unit

Carver Park Reserve

Cedar Mountain SNA

Cedar Rock SNA

Charles A. Lindbergh State Park

Chippewa Prairie

Clear Lake SNA

Clinton Prairie SNA

Compass Prairie SNA

Cottonwood River Prairie SNA

Crow Wing State Park

Crow-Hassan Park Reserve

Des Moines River SNA

Elm Creek Park Reserve

Felton Prairie SNA, Bicentennial Unit

Foxhome Prairie

Franconia Bluffs SNA

Frenchman’s Bluff SNA

Frontenac State Park

Glacial Lakes State Park

Glendalough State Park

Glynn Prairie SNA

Grey Cloud Dunes SNA

Hastings Sand Coulee SNA

Hastings SNA

Hayes Lake State Park

Helen Allison Savanna SNA

Hole-in-the-Mountain Prairie

Holthe Prairie SNA

Hyland Lake Park Reserve

Hythecker Prairie SNA

Iron Horse Prairie SNA

Iron Springs Bog SNA

Jensen Memorial WMA

John Peter Hoffman Spring Brook Valley WMA

Joseph A. Tauer Prairie SNA

Kasota Prairie

Kasota Prairie SNA

Kellogg Weaver Dunes SNA, Kellogg Weaver Unit

Kellogg Weaver Dunes SNA, Weaver Dunes Unit

Kilen Woods State Park

Lake Bemidji State Park

Lake Carlos State Park

Lake Louise State Park

Lebanon Hills Regional Park

Leif Mountain

Lester Lake SNA

Lost Valley Prairie SNA

Maplewood State Park

Margherita Preserve-Audubon Prairie

Mary Schmidt Crawford Woods SNA

McKnight Prairie

Miller Prairie, East Unit

Minneopa State Park

Minnesota Valley NWR, Louisville Swamp Unit

Minnesota Valley NWR, Rapids Lake Unit

Mound Prairie SNA

Mound Spring Prairie SNA, North Unit

Mound Spring Prairie SNA, South Unit

Northern Tallgrass Prairie NWR, Hoffman Unit

Northern Tallgrass Prairie NWR, Rengstorf Unit

Old Mill State Park

Ordway Prairie

Oronoco Prairie SNA

Osmundson Prairie SNA

P.N. and G.M. Nelson Wildlife Sanctuary

Pankratz Memorial Prairie, North Unit

Pembina Trail Preserve SNA, Crookston Prairie Unit

Phelps Lake WMA

Pine Bend Bluffs SNA

Prairie Coteau SNA

Prairie Creek WMA, Koester Prairie Unit

Prairie Smoke Dunes SNA

Racine Prairie SNA

Red Rock Prairie

Regal Meadow

Rice Lake Savanna SNA

Ripley Esker SNA

River Terrace Prairie SNA

River Warren Outcrops SNA

Robert Ney Memorial Park Reserve

Rock Ridge Prairie SNA

Roscoe Prairie SNA

Rushford Sand Barrens SNA

St. Croix Savanna SNA

St. Croix State Park

Sand Prairie Wildlife Management and Environmental Education Area

Sandpiper Prairie SNA

Santee Prairie SNA

Savage Fen SNA

Sedan Brook Prairie SNA

Seminary Fen SNA

Seven Sisters Prairie

Sheepberry Fen

Sibley State Park

Split Rock Creek State Park

Spring Creek Prairie SNA

Spring Lake Park Reserve

Staffanson Prairie

Strandness Prairie

Tiedemann WMA

Town Hall Prairie

Tribute WMA

Twin Valley Prairie Addition

Twin Valley Prairie SNA

Uncas Dunes SNA

Upper Sioux Agency State Park

Verlyn Marth Memorial Prairie SNA

Vermillion River WMA

Whitetail Woods Regional Park

Whitewater State Park

Wild Indigo SNA

Wild River State Park

William O’Brien State Park

Woodbury WMA







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