Scorzonera, Hoffman’s Schwarze Pfahl

Scorzonera, Hoffman’s Schwarze Pfahl


AKA Black Salsify, Black Oyster Plant, Black Scorzonera
(Scorzonera hispanica)

This perennial vegetable is in the sunflower family and originates from the Near East and southern Europe. It forms tapering taproots (up to 3 feet long and 1 inch thick) and large wide leaves, both parts are tasty and nutritious. The roots and leaves are nutty and mild flavored. Harvest in the fall through winter or the second year for larger size. The roasted root is a coffee substitute like chicory root. Roots contain sticky latex and are cooked before eating and often peeled. They can be boiled then peeled if desired. If peeled before cooking, rinse with a vinegar or acidic juice (lemon) to prevent discoloration. The tender young leaves can be eaten raw, older leaves can be braised or lightly cooked, and the 2nd year yellow flowers are edible as well. The leaves persist into cold weather and can provide greens both late in the fall and early in the spring, at least at our USDA zone 6 field; warmer areas will have longer availability.

Black scorzonera flowers in the second year at about 3 feet tall in late spring to early summer. We think the 2 ½ to 3 inch diameter golden-yellow flowers smell like birthday cake!

Sow seeds directly in the spring at 10 to 12 inch spacing. They prefer full to part-sun and are tolerant of many soil textures and moderate pH. Produces best with average garden watering but can tolerate drier conditions. USDA cold hardiness zone 5

Packet: 50 seeds

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