Throwing up tall, stately, purple-rayed blooms, rather like an elegant showy form of chicory flower, this superb plant flowers from late spring and for most of the way through the summer. It is cultivated for its ornamental flower, edible roots, and herbal properties and grows wild in many places being one of the most widely known species of the salsify family. As a winter vegetable it is very fashionable among chefs and makes one of the best winter dishes, having an unusual fragrant taste. In addition it can be introduced to flower beds and borders, as well as amongst grass to create a wild flower meadow, where it will happily but very sparingly self-seed.
For best results, seeds are sown directly into the ground where required in the spring. Alternatively, sow in late winter/early spring in gentle warmth, 15-20 degrees C. Prick out into small 3 inch or 7 cm. pots and plant in final position when the plants are established.