Dec. 3, 2020

goatsbeard, Tragopogon dubius

It's always fun to see goatsbeard waving at us along the roads and from fields. That's particularly true when they produce those large seed heads. Heads like giant dandelions that challenge us to find ways to pick and save them without they're falling apart. Goatsbeards are also a challenge for wildflower people who feel the need to identify. When is it T. dubius, and when T. pratensis? Enough tries and you can start to get used to the longer bracts behind the flowers, and the paler and fewer rays. But they won't all seem to fit, because hybrids are frequent. Now we even know that there are hybrids with extra sets of chromosomes that breed true, and have become new species. Goatsbeard is an Eurasian that can now be found in every state and province except AL, FL, MS, SC, and LB. Lenawee Co MI, 5/23/12. Aster family, Asteraceae.