Meadow Salsify is often confused with Western Salsify and the common Dandelion. Upon closer examination there are significant differences between these plants. Meadow Salsify has smaller flowers that resemble the common dandelion flower but are on considerably longer stems with multiple flowers on each stem, whereas the dandelion only has one flower per stem. Western Salsify flower is also one per stem and much larger than the dandelion and Meadow Salsify. The foliage is darker green and more wiry in appearance than dandelion leaves and it get up to 30 inches high. These plants emerge in early spring and flower in summer through autumn. The Meadow Salsify has a deep taproot which can be difficult to pull out by hand. We measure a taproot from an immature plant at 6 inches late spring.
Common names for this weed are Showy Goats-Beard, Meadow Goats-Beard, and Jack-go-to-bed-at-noon.