Herb: Scorzonera

Latin name: Scorzonera hispanica

Family: Compositae

Edible parts of Scorzonera:

Root - cooked. A sweet agreeable flavour. The root is usually eaten at the end of its first year of growth, but it can be grown on for a second year without becoming tough. The root is rich in inulin - this is a starch that is not easily digested by humans and so generally passes straight through the digestive system and is excreted. Inulin can cause flatulence in some people. Leaves - raw. The tender young shoots are usually eaten in early spring. Flower buds - raw. Added to salads. The petals have their own distinctive flavour and can also be added to salads. The roasted root is used as a coffee substitute.

Description of the plant:


100 cm
(3 1/4 foot)

June to

Habitat of the herb:

Cultivated ground, rocks and bushy places.

Other uses of Scorzonera:

The growing plant is said to repel carrot root fly from carrots growing nearby.

Propagation of the herb:

Seed - sow spring in situ. If the weather is dry, it will be advisable to water the seed in well or germination will be delayed. The seed can also be sown in situ in August. Division in autumn or as growth commences in spring. Larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. We have found it best to pot up the smaller divisions and grow them on in a lightly shaded position in a cold frame, planting them out once they are well established in the summer.

Cultivation of Scorzonera:

Cultivated ground, rocks and bushy places.

Medicinal use of the herb:

None known

Known hazards of Scorzonera hispanica:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.