Silphium laciniatum

compass plant leaves

Compass Plant leaves

A mature specimen of this native perennial plant ranges from 6-12′ tall. The central stem is thick, light to medium green, and has conspicuous white hairs. There is some branching into flowering stems in the upper part of the plant. The basal leaves are 12-24″ long and about half as wide. They are covered in fine white hairs, broadly lanceolate in overall shape, but deeply lobed or pinnatifid. The leaves become much smaller as they ascend up the stem. A mature Compass Plant has 6-30 of these composite flowers, which bloom during mid-summer for about 1½ months. The seeds are large-sized, but flat and light, and can be carried several feet by the wind. A large central taproot can extend 15 ft. into the ground. A resinous substance is produced by the upper stem when the plant is blooming. This plant can live up to 100 years.

compass plant flower

Compass Plant flowers

This is a typical plant of black soil prairies in the tallgrass region. It often co-occurs with Andropogon gera rdii (Big Bluestem). Other habitats include sand prairies, savannas, glades, and areas along railroads.

Long-tongued bees are the primary pollinators of the flowers, including bumblebees, Miner bees, large Leaf-Cutting bees, and others.

Phenophases

  1. First Flower: Date the first flowers are fully open. When open, you will see the stamens among the unfolded petals.
  2. Full Flower: Date when half or more of the flowers are completely open
  3. First Ripe Fruit: Date when you notice the first fruits becoming fully ripe or seeds dropping naturally from the plant. Ripening is indicated by the berries turning red, yellow, orange, or maroon.
  4. Full Fruiting: Date when half or more of the fruits are completely ripe or seeds are dropping naturally from the plant.
  5. All Leaves Withered: Date when most or all of the leaves that developed this season, have lost green color or are dried and dead.

Information from: www.wildflower.org and www.illinoiswildflowers.info

 

To Upload Data

You MUST have an Account on CitSci.org and be a member of the Riveredge Plant Phenology project page.

To upload data go HERE