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Silphium laciniatum (Compass Plant)

Silphium laciniatum (Compass Plant)
Silphium-laciniatum-Compass-Plant-flower BIRDS LOVE COMPASS PLANT silphium-laciniatum.jpg Silphium-laciniatum-Compass-Plant-flower landscaping with Compass Plant landscaping with Compass Plant Compass-Plant-with-Echinacea-pallida-Pale-Purple-Coneflower Silphium-laciniatum-Compass-Plant-skyward Silphium_laciniatum_Compass_Plant_seed Silphium-laciniatum-Compass-plant-root prairie-moon-tray-of-potted-plants

No those aren't sunflowers, those are Compass Plants (Silphium laciniatum)!   A true icon of the prairies, these lovely plants are an incredible addition to your landscape. Given moist, rich soils, mature compass plants can reach upwards of 8 feet in height.  It is quite a sight to see pollinators flit from flower to flower while birds perch upon the stems.

The name Compass Plant comes from the observation that the leaves have a tendency to orient themselves on a north-south axis.  While this certainly helped disoriented settlers find their way, the real reason behind this intriguing physiology is to maximize water use in the leaves as well as to increase CO2 gain for the plant. Another interesting aspect of Compass Plant biology is their life expectancy.  Given the right conditions, individual plants have been known to live upwards of 100 years! Gardening with Compass Plant is gardening for the future.  Sadly, like all other species that live on the prairies, Compass Plants have taken a real hit from habitat destruction.  Prairies are some of the most endangered habitats on the planet. Where there was once seemingly endless prairie, there are now only echoes of a lost world. As the great Aldo Leopold once said, "What a thousand acres of Silphiums looked like when they tickled the bellies of the buffalo is a question never again to be answered, and perhaps not even asked."


Dormant bare root plants ship each year during optimal transplanting season: Fall (October) or Spring (April/May).

Potted plants come in a tray of 38 plants and ship mid-May through late-June. Click here if you prefer to mix/match up to 6 species in a tray.


Details
Catalog Number SIL54F
Seeds / Packet 50
Seeds / Ounce 660
Germination Code C(60)
USDA Zones 3-9
Plant Spacing 3-4'
Sun Exposure Full Sun  Part Shade 
Soil Moisture Wet-Mesic  Mesic (Medium)  Dry-Mesic  Dry 
Height 8 feet 
Bloom Color Yellow 
Bloom Time June  July  Aug  Sept 
Plant Type Wildflowers (Forbs) 
Availability Seeds  Roots  Potted Trays 
AVAILABLE PRODUCTS
Seeds

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Packet $2.50
1/8 oz. $3.75
1/4 oz. $6.00
Bare Root Plants

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Out of stock
Potted Plants

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Silphium-laciniatum-Compass-Plant-flower
BIRDS LOVE COMPASS PLANT silphium-laciniatum.jpg
Silphium-laciniatum-Compass-Plant-flower
landscaping with Compass Plant
landscaping with Compass Plant
Compass-Plant-with-Echinacea-pallida-Pale-Purple-Coneflower
Silphium-laciniatum-Compass-Plant-skyward
Silphium_laciniatum_Compass_Plant_seed
Silphium-laciniatum-Compass-plant-root
prairie-moon-tray-of-potted-plants
Silphium laciniatum (Compass Plant)
*This map shows the native and adventive range of this species. **Given appropriate habitat and climate, native plants can be grown outside their range.
BONAP Map Key
Present in state Present in county; native to state Not present in state  
Present in county, adventive in state    
Silphium terebinthinaceum (Prairie Dock)
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North American Native Plants for Restoration and Gardening