Latin name: Scorzonera hispanica
Plant Family: Aster (Asteraceae)
Growing: Likes full sun and rich soil. We grow them in sunny, raised beds in the garden. Since they're a root crop, I make sure that I'm planting them in loose soil so that I get a larger yield.
Edibility: The extremely nutritional roots are harvested after the second year and have a taste resembling shellfish. Once the root is harvested, the plant dies off, unlike many other perennial edibles that can be divided.
Medicinal uses: None that is known.
Permaculture Uses: All members of the aster family are great for attracting beneficial insects to your garden. Salsify is also a dynamic accumulator in that it's roots acquire nutrients from deep with the soil and give them to shallow rooted plants growing near them when they die off.
Price: $5 for small starts. $7 for larger plant in gallon pot.