Scorzonera hispanica (PROSEA)

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Plant Resources of South-East Asia
List of species

Scorzonera hispanica L.

Family: Compositae

Vernacular names

  • Scorzonera, black salsify (En)
  • Scorsonère (Fr)
  • Indonesia: tanaman hitam.


Native to central and southern Europe where it also grows wild. Cultivated all over the world, but mainly in the Mediterranean region.


After peeling and boiling, the sweet root is eaten cooked or in soups. Young (blanched) leaves can be eaten in salads. Roots are also medicinal, containing inulin, a sugar substitute for diabetics.


  • Perennial, erect, much branched herb, 0.25-1.5 m tall with milky juice.
  • Taproot long, fleshy, skin blackish-brown, inside white.
  • Leaves alternate, entire or dentate, subglabrous, lower ones subradical, lanceolate-spathulate, 5-50 cm × 1-7 cm, higher ones sessile, linear-lanceolate, much smaller.

Propagation is by seed. Planting distance 10 cm × 25 cm. The roots are harvested when they are 30-35 cm long. In the tropics it can be cultivated at higher altitudes, preferably in light soils.

Selected sources

7, 9, 28, 53, 65.