Scorzonera is often called black salsify or oyster plant) is relatively uncommon in the UK, although it is very popular in Europe. It is a winter root vegetable which has been cultivated since the 17th century. Its wild form, which is native in southern Europe, had already been in use as a medicinal plantfor a long time.

Scorzonera is highly nutritious, mainly as a result of its carbohydrate, mineral (potassium, calcium, phosphorous and iron) and vitamin contents. Its inulin content is worth mentioning. This a carbohydrate made from fructose which is suitable for diabetics. When it is peeled Scorzonera produces a milky juice that darkens the skins, so ear gloves.  It also discolors rapidly after peeling but this can be prevented by immediately putting each root into water with a little added vinegar. When buying Scorzonera make sure that the surface is smooth and the flesh pale and juicy.