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Compass Plant - Silphium laciniatum

Compass Plant - Silphium laciniatum

Silphium laciniatum, or Compass Plant, is a perennial wildflower native to Michigan and the U.P. - the only one of the majestic Silphiums that can claim UP heritage documented by Michigan Flora. It features large, sunflower-like flowers strung vertically on sturdy stems, 6 to 12 feet in height. The leaves are deeply cut and offer a lot of textural interest. Good for back borders, naturalizing fields, and bird gardens. The name comes from the leaves which orient themselves north/south to avoid the intensity of the full sun. The taproot can extend 15 feet down, and the plant can live to 100 years.


Compass Plant prefers full sun and moist to medium-dry soil. Drought resistant after a couple of years, once the taproot grows deep. This plant is strongly verticle, but may flop if planted on a steep slope. The large structure of the plant and profuse blooms support many insects, and therefore, birds. The flowers are popular with many types of native bees and butterflies. Blooms summer into fall.


Pairs well with Big Bluestem.

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