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Silphium laciniatum
at Digging Dog

Compass Plant

Silphium laciniatum

photo from Wikimedia commons

Silphium laciniatum

Silphium

Silphium laciniatum full sun

Widely distributed throughout our Midwestern tall grass prairies and once considered a life-saver for lost pioneers, this formidable sky-high perennial wields uniquely chiseled, up to 18 in. long basal leaves, which orient themselves on a north-south axis.

Historically crafted into chewing gum by Native Americans, stiff bristly towering stems emit a bitter resin, while large white-haired foliage is cut nearly to the midrib, resembling a Pin Oak leaf. Along the upper reaches of thick stalks, a galaxy of huge, 5 in. wide sunflower-style blooms with yellow rays, yellow centers and hairy-edged green bracts make an exuberant summer long appearance.

Employed as a bold coarse-textured backdrop in cottage gardens, wild flower plantings or mixed borders, its imposing colorful stature lures bees, butterflies and many a gardener.

Blooms July–September.

Size: 5' 0"–8' 0" high x 18"–2-1/2' wide; hardy to zone 3.

Silphium laciniatum (P-1820)
Each $7.75
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