a purple-flowered plant (Tragopogon porrifolius) of the composite family, with long, white, edible, fleshy roots having an oysterlike flavor; oyster plant
Origin of salsifyFrench salsifis ; from Italian sassefrica ; from uncertain or unknown; perhaps
- A European plant (Tragopogon porrifolius) in the composite family, having grasslike leaves, purple flower heads, and an edible taproot.
- The root of this plant, eaten as a vegetable. In both senses also called oyster plant, vegetable oyster.
Origin of salsifyFrench 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.
(usually uncountable, plural salsifies)
- (countable, uncountable) Any of several flowering plants, of the genus Tragopogon, most of which have purple flowers.
- (uncountable) The edible root of these plants.