Silphium laciniatum (Compass Plant)
Compass Plant is a tall, coarse, slow-growing and long-lived perennial. It has deeply cut, hairy leaves that usually orient themselves north and south. It features eye-catching sunflower-like flowers in the summer. Flowers bloom in loose spikes on the upper parts of the plant. The hardened sap of this plant can be chewed like gum.
Compass Plant has a large, woody taproot. It is slow to establish and may not flower until the second or third year. It is native to Blackland Prairie regions and often grows with Big Bluestem (Andropogon gerardii).
Compass Plant provides height for the rear of the border. It is also excellent for naturalizing in prairies, cottage gardens, wildflower gardens or native plant gardens.
Small mammals and birds eat the seeds. It also provides a sturdy perch for prairie songbirds. Long-tongued bees, including bumblebees, miner bees, large leaf-cutting bees and others, are the primary pollinators of its flowers.
AT A GLANCE
|Butterflies, birds, bees
|Native and Bumble bee friendly.
|Present in state
|Present in county and native
|Native to North America, but adventive & escaped in state
|Not present in state
|Present and rare, native in county
|Previously present, now extinct
|Questionable presence (cross-hatched, regardless of color)