Scorzonera laciniata   Cut-leaved Viper's-grass

Scorzonear laciniata whole Scorzonear laciniata flower from top Scorzonear laciniata flowers from side

Early in our stay I noticed this weed in the gardens of the hotel but was puzzled by the fact that there never seemed to be flowers, only buds and closed fruiting heads. I thought that it might be similar to the Tragopogon genus known in the British Isles colloquially as "Jack-go-to-bed-at-noon" so I observed it very early in the morning. At first there was little to see but by 9.00 am it was opening and in full flower by 10.00 am. By 11.00 am it began to close again and could never be seen in flower in the late morning afternoon or evening. Jack might well go-to-bed-at-noon in Britain but Scorzonera laciniata has a siesta as well. So far it is the plant with the shortest daily flowering period I've ever seen.

The glaucous pinnate leaves make it a very different looking plant from the extremely rare UK plant Scorzonera humilis (Viper's-grass) but the flowers are quite similar.

Weed in gardens of Cortijo Valverde, near Alora, Andalucia, Spain

Added on 18th April 2008, updated 1st February 2012

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