GOAT'S-BEARD

JACK-GO-TO-BED-AT-NOON

Tragopogon pratensis

Daisy & Dandelion Family [Asteraceae]  

Flowers:
month8May month8jun month8june month8jul month8july month8Aug

Pappus: pappusZpossible (brown, very large, compound)
pappus8jul pappus8july pappus8aug pappus8sep pappus8sept

status
statusZneophyte
ssp. prat.
status
statusZnative
ssp. minor
flower
flower8yellow
 
morph
morph8actino
 
petals
petalsZmany
 
stem
stem8round
 

9th June 2016, the beach, Deganwy, North Wales. Photo: © RWD
On the beach! Your Author has never seen it so close to the sea as this. So it seems Goat's-beard has some degree of salt tolerance.


12th May 2009, East Lancs Road, Walkden. Photo: © RWD
ssp. minor. The grass-like leaves and telescopic stem.


25th June 2005, Peak Forest Canal, near Chinley, Derbyshire. Photo: © RWD


22nd June 2007, Three Waters Meet, Bridgewater Canal, Salford, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
ssp. minor. Flower just opening. The tapering, green phyllaries are much longer than the flower, even when the flower is open - but only on the sub-species ssp. minor (on the other sub-species ssp. pratensis the petals are the same length or longer than the phyllaries)


22nd June 2007, Three Waters Meet, Bridgewater Canal, Salford, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
ssp. minor. Flower open.


12th Aug 2005, Maghull, Leeds & Liverpool Canal. Photo: © RWD
In ssp. minor the petals are only 1/2 to 3/4 of the length of the phyllaries.


22nd June 2007, Three Waters Meet, Bridgewater Canal, Salford, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
ssp. minor Note the black stripes on the anthers.


25th June 2005, Peak Forest Canal, near Chinley, Derbyshire. Photo: © RWD
Flower closed again; seeds ready.


22nd June 2007, Three Waters Meet, Bridgewater Canal, Salford, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
Opening again, seed-clock ready to un-fold, parachutes above the nicks, the very long seeds below them.


Photo: © Ann Collier
The globular cluster called Goatsbeard shining brightly in the night sky like an exploding Air-bomb firework.


22nd June 2007, Three Waters Meet, Bridgewater Canal, Salford, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
Seed-clock fully open, three inches across and substantially more robust than a Dandelion seed clock. It consists of many robust single achenes, each with its own 'parachute' or pappus able to carry it great distances in the slightest breeze.


22nd June 2007, Three Waters Meet, Bridgewater Canal, Salford, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
Another seed-clock fully open.


Photo: © Ann Collier
Some of the compound parachutes (simple ones on central stalks) have the style still attached (bottom left).


14th June 2011, Sefton Coast, Formby. Photo: © RWD
Cut-away view of seed-clock from inside, showing extremely long seeds, and their parachutes.


14th June 2011, Sefton Coast, Formby. Photo: © RWD
The seeds are slightly, broad at one end, are curved and with fine teeth. The pappus is curved like an inside-out umbrella.


8th July 2014, Ainsdale, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
After most of the birds have flown the nest the seeds are better to be seen.


14th June 2011, Sefton Coast, Formby. Photo: © RWD
The pappus has an umbrella skeleton with about 30 spokes which support the fine hairs between them like a cobweb.


14th June 2011, Sefton Coast, Formby. Photo: © RWD
The fine hairs are strung haphazardly in a fine filigree, apparently random, pattern across the spokes. Drag, or air-friction, is effected by the shedding of vortexes, thus allowing the seed to be taken away by the slightest of breezes. Close inspection reveals that the hairs attach to only one spoke, and the spokes are held together by entanglement of the hairs.


14th June 2011, Sefton Coast, Formby. Photo: © RWD
The spokes all join onto a square shaft, the extension of the seed.


Some similarities to : A great many other dandelion-like flowers.

Hybridizes with Salsify (Tragopodon porrifolius) to produce Tragopodon × mirabilis [the latter having nothing to do with Marvel of Peru (Mirabilis jalapa]. This hybrid has yellow petals which are purple-suffused near the ends - i.e. dual colour - inner yellow, purple at the ends. It occurs (near Salsify) in central and Southern England only rarely.

Not to be confused with: Goat's-Rue [a plant of similar name, but which belongs to the Pea family]

Many similarities to : Salsify which is not surprising since the two are in the same Genus, Tragopogon, but Goat's-beard is yellow rather than mauve.

Uniquely identifiable characteristics: When in flower, the thin bracts stick out very proud of the yellow florets. In the afternoon, the flower closes up, hence the folk-name go-to-bed-at-noon. When in seed, it has the largest and sturdiest dandelion-like clock of any compositaee, all of 3 inches across.

Distinguishing Feature : The only dandelion-type flower to have grass-like leaves. It can also be quite tall, maybe 30 inches, and quite sturdy, with a conspicuously large yellow flower, with very long green bracts sticking out much further that the petals.

There are three sub-species of Goat's-beard. Shown here could be any number of them. Like Elecampane (Inula helenium) Goat's-bear contains a high Inulin content, and is thus useful as a vegetable to those with diabetes. The stems and young buds can be eaten like spinach, whilst the stems the root, suitably treated, can be eaten as is Salsify. It is still used in stews, salads and soups.

The shuttlecock shape is reminiscent of that of Corncockle but that has five rather than eight extended sepals/bracts.

Goat's-beard exists as three sub-species:

  • Tragopogon pratensis ssp. pratensis is an introduced and naturalised (neophyte) species which has petals as long as or longer than the phyllaries. It is probably much the more common sub-species. The seeds have a beak about as long as the body. It is found in grassy places and in open or rough ground.
  • Tragopogon pratensis ssp. minor a native species where the petals are only 1/2 to 3/4 of the length of the phyllaries. Like ssp. pratensis the seeds have a beak about as long as the body. It too is found in grassy places, roadsides, and rough ground but also includes cultivated ground. This sub-species is common in most of Britain from the South up to Central Scotland. Also Ireland and Alderney.
  • Tragopogon pratensis ssp. orientalis which has petals as long as or longer than the phyllaries (as does ssp. pratensis) but the petals are a deeper yellow and the seeds have a beak shorter than the body. It is just a rare casual.


  Tragopogon pratensis  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Asteraceae  

Distribution
family8daisy family8dandelion  family8Asteraceae

 BSBI maps
genus8tragopogon
Tragopogon
(Goat's-beards)

GOAT'S-BEARD

JACK-GO-TO-BED-AT-NOON

Tragopogon pratensis

Daisy & Dandelion Family [Asteraceae]  

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