Silphium laciniatum (Compass Plant)


One of the most interesting plants in the prairie landscape is the Compass Plant. Its name comes from its basal leaves that tend to point north to south. This direction takes advantage of the sun like aimed solar panels and conserves water in the high noon sun.

This plant has massive tuber roots that extend up to 15' deep!!!!! This deep root makes it one of the most drought-resilient plants in the prairie allowing it to suck up water from deep in the soil. It can also live up to 100 years. What…..I thought only trees lived that long. Compass Plant is also the giraffe of the prairie towering in up to 12' tall. It is mostly pollinated by long-tongued bees and for fall interest the seed can really bring in the finches.

Compass Plant can be used so well when placed as a feature or a focal point in any garden. Think of it as the sunflower of the prairie!!! Plant them in small groupings and you will see the dramatic effect this completely awesome plant can evoke!!!! 

  • Sun Exposure Prairie/Savanna
  • Soil Conditions Wet Mesic, Mesic, Dry Mesic, Dry
  • Height: 8'
  • Flower Color yellow
  • Flower Time June-August
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