Silphium laciniatum - Compass Plant
Compass Plant (Silphium laciniatum) is a tall and sturdy perennial with coarsely textured stems and leaves. Its basal leaves are 1' - 2' long, about half as wide, deeply lobed, and become much smaller as they go up the stem. Scattered along the upper half are 6 - 30 yellow composite flowers, and its large central taproot can go 15 feet into the ground, which can allow it to live for up to 100 years. The common name refers to the belief of pioneers that its leaves often pointed in a north-south direction to avoid the heat of the mid-day sun.
Soil Moisture: Dry, Moderate
Sun Exposure: Full Sun
Height: 5' - 10'
Spread: 2' - 3'
Hardiness Zone: 4 - 9
Bloom Color: Yellow
Bloom Time: July, August, September
Attracts: Birds, Butterflies, Pollinators
Silphium is a genus of flowering plants that are native to North America, and is commonly referred to as rosinweeds. They are very tall perennials that can grow taller than 8 feet, and have yellow flowers that can resemble sunflowers. With rosinweeds, the flower's outer florets are fertile and the inner florets are sterile, but in sunflowers it is the opposite. Silphium is an ancient Greek word for a North African plant whose identity has been lost and was claimed to be extinct in Roman times, but its gum or juice was prized as a medicine and condiment.
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