Goatsbeard, also known as yellow salsify (Tragopogon dubius), is a wildflower native to Europe and western Asia. It has become widespread across North America and, at least in the prairies I’m familiar with, doesn’t seem to be problematic. Instead, it seems to have joined our native plant communities in a relatively friendly way.
Regardless of its status as a native plant, it’s definitely a species I’ve come to appreciate from a photographer’s perspective. The flower is very pretty, but the seed heads are what really grab me. Even if you don’t recognize the name of the species, it’s likely you’ve seen the seed heads out there in the world. They look like dandelion seedheads, but are about the size of your fist.
When I find a goatsbeard seed head, my inclination is to stick my macro lens right into it. The fuzzy/fluffy appendages to the seed (the pappuses) capture light in an amazing way and the patterns created by a mass of them are hard to pass up. I have way too many abstract close-up images of goatsbeard, but every seed head is a little different and I keep finding new angles I like! Here is a very small sample of photos from recent years.