Another invading wildflower.

As the season progresses, new plants come to the fore. Western salsify or Goats-Beard, a biennial from the Asteraceae family, has a yellow daisy-like flower but is spread through seeds.

Tragopogon dubius, better known as western salsify or western goat's beard.

Tragopogon dubius, better known as Western salsify or Western goat’s beard.

The flower is quite attractive and doesn’t seem to crowd out others, growing to 30 – 90cm with a single flower per plant. Like many other invaders in Ontario, its origin is Eurasia and it has spread to cover much of North America since escaping from gardens in the early 20th Century. It produces a large, dandelion-like seed head.

Western salsify in the meadow of the wild area.

Western salsify in the meadow of the wild area.

As the photo shows, Western salsify isn’t aggressive enough to achieve anything close to monoculture status in Raymore Park but it is regarded as invasive in some parts of North America. Each year, it adds attractive flashes of yellow while its roots, leaves and flowers provide food for a wide range of herbivores and insects.

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