Search for native plants by scientific name, common name or family. If you are not sure what you are looking for, try the Combination Search or our Recommended Species lists.
Search native plant database:
Bransford, W.D. and Dolphia
Silphium laciniatum L.
Compassplant, Compass plant
USDA Symbol: sila3
USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)
Compassplant is a tall, coarse, sunflower-like perennial, growing 3-12 ft. high. Deeply cut, hairy leaves, up to 2 ft. in length, usually orient themselves north and south to avoid the heat of the noonday sun. Scattered along the top half of the stout, sticky stem are 2-5 in. wide, yellow, radiate flowers. A tall plant bearing yellow flower heads with large, hairy-edged, green bracts; stem exudes resinous sap
Compass Plant is one of a group of tall, mostly prairie sunflowers, some with very large leaves. The common name refers to the plants deeply incised leaves, which tend to be oriented in a north-south direction. The hardened sap of this plant can be chewed like gum. Rosinweed (S. integrifolium) has opposite, very rough, stalkless, untoothed or slightly toothed leaves and is 2-5 (60-150 cm) tall. Cup Plant (S. perfoliatum) has opposite leaves that envelop its square stem, each leaf forming a cup around it. Prairie Dock (S. terebinthinaceum) has large, ovate or heart-shaped, basal leaves to 2 (60 cm) long; the sparsely leaved flower stalk sometimes reaches a height of nearly 10 (3 m).
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Herb Leaf Retention: Deciduous Flower:
Fruit: Size Class:
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Yellow
Bloom Time: Jul , Aug , Sep
, WI Canada: ON Native Distribution: OH
w. to e. Great Plains Native Habitat:
Growing ConditionsLight Requirement:
Sun Soil Moisture:
Dry Drought Tolerance:
High Soil Description:
Various well-drained soils. Conditions Comments:
Compass plant has a large, woody taproot
that may reach down 15 ft. Slow-growing, long-lived, eye-catching, sunflower-like blooms. (Ontario Native
BenefitUse Wildlife: The large seeds are favored by birds and small mammals.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Attracts: Birds , Butterflies
Nectar Source: yes
PropagationDescription: Most easily propagated by seed. Seedlings take 2-3 years to flower. Sow unstratified seed in spring or stratified in fall. Deep roots make division difficult.
Seed Collection: Collect in Sep. and Oct.
Seed Treatment: Damp stratification (2 months at 40 degrees) and scarification.
Commercially Avail: yes
From the National Suppliers Directory
According to the inventory provided by Associate Suppliers, this plant is available at the following locations:
- Westfield, WI
Record Last Modified: 2014-03-27
Research By: TWC Staff