Goatsbeard (Tragopogon pratensis)

 

Collins, 262; Readers Digest, 369

A commonly seen medium height perennial with bright yellow solitary flowers which open fully very early in the morning and close around mid-day.  Thereby it derived the folk name of ‘Jack-Go-To-Bed-At-Noon’.  It flowers from May to August.  It is known as Goat’s Beard after the tufts of long silky hairs which arise on its fruits and is also known as ‘Joseph’s Flower’ because in depictions of the nativity, Joseph is shown wearing a beard.   In early times the tap roots were dug up and cooked and eaten like parsnips.  Boiled in milk they were used as medicine for people recuperating from illness.