GROWTH HABIT: A biennial, 1 to 3 feet tall, more or less branched, arising from a long taproot. Herbage has milky juice. Some pubescence occurs when young, but is frequently glabrous at maturity.
LEAVES: Leaves are narrow, up to 12 inches long, gradually tapering from the base to the apex.
FLOWER: Inflorescences occur at the end of long, hollow peduncles; involucral bracts, usually about 13, or only eight in depauperate plants, 1 to 2 inches long at anthesis. Bracts distinctly surpass the pale, lemon-yellow ray flowers. Achenes have a 1 inch or larger slender beak at the apex.
OTHER: Western salsify is native to Eurasia and is now established over much of temperate North America. This is a weed of roadsides and waste sites. Two other species of the genus are also in the West, and sometimes all three species hybridize with each other. The stalk of meadow salsify (T. Pratensis L.) has purple flowers. Western salsify is also know as yellow salsify and goatsbeard.