Salsify (Tragopogon dubius) Seed Head

Salsify Seed Head

Western salsify (Tragopogon dubius) are nonnative flowers that grow in lower montane fields and in the prairie at the edges of the foothills in the Front Range. Despite being nonnative, I do think they make pretty flowers. When they go to seed they have a giant seed head, reminiscent of a dandelion’s, but much bigger. You can come up with many different ways to photograph these because they make so many cool, three-dimensional patterns. Even slightly adjusting the bokeh gives you a completely different image.

There are three species of Tragopogon that grow in Colorado, and all are alien species. This one originated in Europe and western Asia. It blooms in early June and now, late in June, is off to seed. The seed heads are a good three to four inches in diameter. The field outside my door has a ton of them, large white puffballs floating over the highest field grasses.


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