Scorzonera hispanica, black salsify seeds

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Scorzonera hispanica
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Scorzonera hispanica, Salsify seeds



Scorzonera hispanica is a heavy yielding variety of sunflower family of Asteraceae and genus scorzonera. It is also referred by common names such as Spanish salsify, black oyster plant, vipers’ grass, serpent root and scorzonera. Its synonyms include scorzonera asphodeloides wallr, scorzonera Taurica M. Bieb, scorzonera transtagana cout, and scorzonera hispanica subsp. taurica. The origin of this species can be traced back to southern Europe especially Spain and near east. Initial reports of cultivations originated back in the 17th century and are currently common in moderate climate throughout the world. It is well known as “Poor man’s asparagus.” since it is widely used as salad and vegetable.


The black skin of scorzonera hispanica is inedible and can be detached by boiling. When the skin is boiled before it is removed, peeled roots are mixed with vinegar and immersed in water to remove stains. Regular peeling of the outer skin of the black species root after boiling is recommended since root has high sticky latex. Used latex can be detached by adding a drop of oil, smoothening and wash with soap.


Seeds of scorzonera hispanica are sown mostly in April at times autumn is also preferable though this can take longer up to one and a half years. However, sowing the plant seed early may be subjected to excessive frost. Harvest usually begins in October and runs to April the subsequent year. Black salsify is harvested with caution to allow the roots to dry out easily and for longer storage. Gardening equipment (spading fork) is best preferred for harvesting. Juice produced from the roots that have been damaged is difficult to remove hence leave a nasty and relentless stain.


Hispanica roots are cleaned and prepared as vegetable food. In addition, roots can be roasted to be used as a coffee replacement. In European countries, the roots are preserved with ice for commercial vegetative purpose. Leaves obtained from the plant during growth are used as salad. A mixture of milk fluid obtained from the plant is added to normal milk and can be used to relieve the common cold.


Spanish salsify still remains one of the appreciated vegetable plants in various Mediterranean Europe regions. Once established it thrives well on below-average weather.


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