This section is from the book "A Manual Of Weeds", by Ada E. Georgia. Also available from Amazon: A Manual Of Weeds.
Introduced. Biennial or perennial. Propagates by seeds.
Time of bloom: June to September.
Seed-time: July to October.
Range: New Brunswick to Manitoba, southward to New Jersey, Ohio, and Michigan.
Habitat: Fields, meadows, roadsides, and waste places.
This plant springs from a slender, deep-boring taproot, somewhat fleshy. Stem one to three feet tall, round, smooth, light green, slender, usually with several branches, held very erect. Leaves alternate, linear, keeled, clasping at base, and with long-pointed tips; the lowermost perhaps a foot long, the topmost not exceeding two inches; at maturity the edges of the leaves become involute and tips curve inward. Grazing animals dislike its bitter, milky juice, and usually leave it unmolested to reproduce itself. . Heads solitary, terminal, golden yellow, nearly two inches broad, the rays five-notched at the tip, with the pointed bracts of the involucre in a single row, united at base and about as long as the rays; the flowers open at sunrise and are closed again by noon. Achenes about a third of an inch in length, rough-ribbed, tipped with a wire-like beak, the pappus a funnel-formed parachute of tawny, plumose bristles with downy interlacing branches. (Fig. 368.)
Fig. 368. - Meadow Salsify (Tragopogon pratensis). X 1/4.
Destroy by grubbing or hand-pulling when the ground is soft. In view of the fact that its buoyant seeds travel widely and that the plant is perennial if undisturbed, it will pay to take some trouble for its extermination. Land badly infested should be broken up and put under cultivation.