Because we only moved into this apartment a year ago, the backyard is full of mystery plants. Most of the unidentified plants are weeds, which have regrettably turned one side of the area into a wasteland despite my continuous efforts to uproot most of the plant life.
It hasn’t been hard removing the majority of the weeds since the yard is covered with a layer of wood chips that prevent them from rooting deeply, but there are a couple of tenacious weeds that have dug their roots in deep.
Two of the “weeds” are nearly two feet tall and refused to come out of the ground no matter how hard I pulled. When these plants flowered and then sprouted giant puffballs, I assumed they were some kind of enormous dandelion, but a little research has revealed that they aren’t dandelions at all, but salsify plants.
Apparently the salsify has edible but bitter roots that taste like parsnips. While I have no intention of eating them, I did appreciate the dandelion-like head of the plant, which photographs nicely.
As a side note, we saw the most bizarre behavior with a few little birds and these plants – the birds would hop onto the branch near the puffball and bounce up and down like it was some kind of fantastic salsify trampoline.
Not sure what they were doing, but since those seeds disperse just like dandelion seeds, I’m hoping we don’t end up with a yard full of birdie jungle gyms later this year.