noun, plural salsifies.
a purple-flowered, composite plant, Tragopogon porrifolius, whose root has an oyster-like flavor and is used as a culinary vegetable.

1690–1700; < French salsifis, variant of sassefy, sassef(r)ique < Italian sassef(r)ica) < ? Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
salsify (ˈsælsɪfɪ)
n , pl -fies
1.  oyster plant, Also called: vegetable oyster a Mediterranean plant, Tragopogon porrifolius, having grasslike leaves, purple flower heads, and a long white edible taproot: family Asteraceae (composites)
2.  the root of this plant, which tastes of oysters and is eaten as a vegetable
[C17: from French salsifis, from Italian sassefrica, from Late Latin saxifrica, from Latin saxum rock + fricāre to rub]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Word Origin & History

biennial plant, 1675, from Fr. salsifis, earlier sercifi, sassify (16c.), probably from It. erba salsifica, from O.It. salsifica, of uncertain origin, perhaps from L. sal "salt" + fricare "to rub."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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