Sun Exposure: Sun
Soil Moisture: Medium-Wet, Medium, Medium-Dry, Dry
Soil Type: Sand-Loam, Loam, Loam-Clay
Height: 8 feet feet
Spread: 2 feet
Blooms: July, August, September
Habitat: Black soil Prairies, Sand prairies, Savannas, Glades, Along railroads
Landscape uses: Pollinator garden, Meadow planting, Naturalization, Deer resistent
Complimentary Plants: Big Bluestem, Dense Blazing Star, Rattlenake master
Wildlife Value: Long-tongued bees are the primary pollinators of the flowers, including bumblebees, Miner bees, large Leaf-Cutting bees. Butterflies drink the nectar. Birds eat the seeds.
Seed Origin: Winona, MN (Prairie Moon seed supplier)
Germination Code: C(60)
Silphium laciniatum - Compass Plant
A true iconic Prairie plant - Compass Plant is named for its large basal leaves that often orient themselves in a north-south direction. Individual plants may grow slowly, but are very long-lived - up to 100 years! Mature plants are impressive, and produce numerous large yellow flowers along the stem, that open from July through September. Pollinators are very attracted to the flowers and birds seek out the very nutritious seeds.
Prairies are one of the most endangered habitats on the planet, with Compass Plant populations decreasing as a result. 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."