Silphium laciniatum L.

Compass Plant

Silphium laciniatum plant

Family - Asteraceae

Stems - No info. yet.

Silphium laciniatum stem

Leaves - No info. yet.

Silphium laciniatum leaf

Inflorescence - No info. yet.

Involucre - No info. yet.

Silphium laciniatum involucreInvolucre.

Ray flowers - No info. yet.

Silphium laciniatum flowers

Disk flowers - No info. yet.

Silphium laciniatum diskDisk close-up.

Flowering - July - September.

Habitat - Prairies, glades, roadsides, railroads.

Origin - Native to U.S.

Other info. - This striking species can be found throughout most of Missouri except the southeast corner of the state. The plant is simple to identify in the field because of its pinnatifid leaves, hairy stems, and big yellow flowerheads. The flowerheads follow the sun across the sky (heliotropism) as do many of the plants in the Asteraceae. This species grows to +4m tall and is certainly worthy of cultivation.
S. laciniatum has been used traditionally as a worm expellent. A leaf tea was used was used for coughs, lung ailments, asthma, and as an emetic. A root tea was used to treat gonorrhea, as well as coughs and asthma.
A gummy substance produced on the upper stems was chewed by natives a gum.

Photographs taken off Hwy 60, Carter County, MO., 8-11-03, and at Busiek State Forest, 6-17-05.