from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A European plant (Tragopogon porrifolius) in the composite family, having grasslike leaves, purple flower heads, and an edible taproot.
  • noun The root of this plant, eaten as a vegetable.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A plant, Tragopogon porrifolius.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun (Bot.) See Oyster plant (a), under oyster.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun countable, uncountable Any of several flowering plants, of the genus Tragopogon, most of which have purple flowers.
  • noun uncountable The edible root of these plants.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun edible root of the salsify plant
  • noun Mediterranean biennial herb with long-stemmed heads of purple ray flowers and milky sap and long edible root; naturalized throughout United States
  • noun either of two long roots eaten cooked


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[French salsifis, from obsolete Italian salsefica, variant (influenced by Italian salsa, sauce, or salso, salted, perhaps in reference to the oysterlike flavor of its cooked roots) of sassefrica, from Old Italian; akin to Medieval Latin saxifraga (media), salsify : perhaps Latin saxifraga, maidenhair fern (for unknown reasons, since salsify does not resemble maidenhair fern); see saxifrage + media, feminine of medium, middling, ordinary.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

French salsifis.


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  • The only current English word ending in -ify that is not a verb.

    August 7, 2008

  • And here I thought it meant "To add salsa to one's food."

    August 7, 2008

  • The only non-verb? All alone? All innocent and waify?

    August 7, 2008

  • I was wondering who might falsify salsify.

    August 8, 2008

  • “‘Anybody that can say.’ Wijzer helped himself to another salsify fritter.”

    —Gene Wolfe, On Blue’s Waters

    December 28, 2009

  • "Salsify, or Oyster Plant. After scraping off the outside, parboil it, slice it, dip the slices into a beaten egg and fine bread crums sic, and fry in lard. It is very good boiled, and then stewed a few minutes in milk, with a little salt and butter. Or, make a batter of wheat flour, milk, and eggs; cut the salsify in thin slices, first boiling it tender; put them into the batter with a little salt; drop the mixture into hot fat by spoonfuls. Cook them till of a light brown."

    —Susan Williams, Savory Suppers and Fashionable Feasts: Dining in Victorian America (New York: Pantheon Books, 1985), 256

    May 4, 2010