Aka “Black Salsify,” the name translates to Hoffman’s Black Stake, and that’s exactly what it looks like. The long straight roots are about as thick as your thumb and have black skin covering pure white flesh. Scorzonera is an ancient root crop native to Spain. Classified as a biennial and sometimes as a perennial, it’s a versatile vegetable. The young shoots and leaves and second-year flower buds and yellow flowers are all edible in salads. Older leaves make reliable winter greens. But its roots are the real star of this eat-all veggie’s show. Mild with a nutty flavor, they’re great prepared in a multitude of ways, even roasting them for a coffee substitute. But it’s when boiled that they take on the aroma and subtle flavor that give them the nickname “mock oyster” or “oysterplant.” We use them to make a veggie chowder that tastes just like the real thing. Unlike true salsify, the roots of scorzonera are still edible after flowering. The plants are extremely hardy and survive our -20 degree winters in Minnesota with no mulch. Packet contains at least 100 seeds.