Purple morning star or oat root

Purple morning star is a one or two year old plant with a beautiful purple flower that would not look out of place in the ornamental garden. It grows to a height of 30 centimeters. It is a root vegetable of which you can also eat the leaves. Originally this plant was mainly found in Southern Europe. Its fame as a tasty vegetable caused it to slowly expand to Central and Northern Europe. Today it has been introduced to North America, Africa and Australia. In warmer areas it starts to bloom in April, but in the north of Europe, such as the Netherlands, we have to wait until June. In the introduced countries, purple morning star has become a wild, naturalized plant. NB! This article is written from the personal view of the author and may contain information that is not scientifically substantiated and/or in line with the general view.

Contents:

  • Naming purple morning star
  • History of purple morning star
  • Oat root in the vegetable garden
  • Purple morning star and oat root
  • Medicinal properties of oat root

 

Naming purple morning star

The Latin name for purple morning star is Tragopogon porrifolius . Tragopogon means ‘goat’. In English, goatee is a common name for this plant and in the Low Countries this plant is also referred to as boxer’s beard. In general, plants with long leaves under the flower are included in the genus Tragopogon. This leaf growth probably reminded the ancients of a goat’s goatee. Porrifolius means ‘leek leaf’. You could compare the long side leaves with young leek leaves. In Dutch, the purple morning star is also called Oatroot, Poorman’s asparagus, White salsify, Oyster plant, Boxer’s beard, Blue morning star and Keukenmeidenverdriet. The name kitchen maid’s sorrow comes from the fact that sticky white milky juice is released from the carrot when peeling. It is therefore recommended to peel the carrot under water. Otherwise, your delicate hands will get dirty, and that will make you sad again.

History of purple morning star

This plant originally comes from the Mediterranean region. In ancient times, oat root was already eaten as a vegetable. He was mentioned by Pliny the Elder; the ancient Romans had cultivated this vegetable. In the 16th century, oat root was widely grown as a vegetable in Central Europe. It was later supplanted by salsify. This one tastes about the same. Roasted oat root has been used as a coffee substitute in times of scarcity. In Great Britain, purple morning star was initially grown for its beautiful flower, but later eating the root became increasingly popular, until this vegetable also had to make way for the salsify here.

Purple morning star contains quite a bit of calcium and iron. It also contains vitamins B1, B2 and C. It also contains some proteins; Oat root, like orange carrot and parsnip, is a source of vegetarian proteins.

 

Oat root in the vegetable garden

The oat root can be grown in the vegetable garden. You can sow it from March/April. It will bloom in June/July. You don’t have to plant it out. You plant it 10 centimeters apart and leave 30 centimeters between the rows. It can survive the winter, but then the roots become woody and inedible; you must harvest it for consumption in the fall. Then it will not reach its maximum height of 60 centimeters; it only grows to 30 centimeters high when you harvest it in October.

Purple morning star and oat root

The root of this plant can be eaten and as a vegetable it is called oat root. Young oat root can be eaten raw, but slightly older oat roots must be boiled or roasted. The taste of oat root is somewhat similar to oysters. In addition, you can

Faded flower purple morning star / Source: Simon Eugster, Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA-3.0)

use the leaves in salads. You can also boil or stir-fry the leaves in the same way as spinach. The flowers are edible; They can be blanched like asparagus, but you can also add them raw to a salad.

The juice of the oat root is called latex and can be used as a basis for chewing gum.

 

Medicinal properties of oat root

Nicholas Culpeper, a 17th century English physician and botanist, wrote that oat root was a tonic for the stomach, liver and bile. It could be used for tuberculosis; You will then gain strength again more quickly. Dioscorides already mentioned the plant as a liver and bile tonic agent. He also used this plant as a diuretic; a diuretic.

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