SILPHIUM laciniatum (Compass Plant) is a tall, herbaceous perennial native to North America. It belongs to the Asteraceae family and is named for its unique leaf orientation, as the basal leaves often align themselves north and south, resembling a compass. Compass Plant is valued for its striking stature, deeply lobed leaves, and its ability to attract pollinators. It is often used in prairie restorations, native plant gardens, or as a focal point in larger landscapes.
Compass Plant is a tall and robust perennial that can reach heights of 6 to 12 feet (1.8 to 3.6 meters) and has a spread of about 2 to 4 feet (60 to 120 cm). It has sturdy, erect stems that are covered in fine hairs. The basal leaves are deeply lobed with irregularly toothed margins, while the upper leaves are narrower and less divided. The leaves have a rough texture and often orient themselves north and south, which is believed to help reduce water loss.
This species thrives in full sun and prefers well-drained soil. Compass Plant is often found in prairies, open woodlands, or along roadsides. It is adapted to a range of soil types, including clay, loam, or sandy soils.
The flowers of Silphium laciniatum are bright yellow and daisy-like, with numerous petals surrounding a central disk. They are produced in large, showy clusters at the top of the stems, creating a striking display. The flowers are highly attractive to bees, butterflies, and other pollinators, providing an important food source.
Compass Plant typically blooms from midsummer to early fall, with the flowering period lasting for several weeks. The flowers are long-lasting and add a burst of vibrant color to the garden.
Compass Plant is often used in prairie restorations, meadow plantings, or large-scale landscapes where its height and architectural presence can be showcased. It works well as a background plant, in large perennial beds, or as a focal point in larger landscapes. The bright yellow flowers, deeply lobed leaves, and unique leaf orientation add interest and beauty to the garden. Additionally, Compass Plant is a valuable plant for attracting pollinators and supporting local ecosystems.
Compass Plant, with its tall stature, deeply lobed leaves, and bright yellow flowers, is a remarkable and ecologically significant addition to gardens and landscapes. Its ability to attract pollinators, its adaptability to a variety of soil types, and its architectural presence make it a desirable choice for those seeking to create wildlife-friendly and visually striking garden spaces.
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