at Digging Dog
photo from Wikimedia commons
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.
Size: 5' 0"–8' 0" high x 18"–2-1/2' wide; hardy to zone 3.
Silphium laciniatum (P-1820)
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