Compass Plant, Silphium laciniatum
Growing to be over 7 feet tall, Compass Plant (Silphium laciniatum) is one of the most prominent plant species in the Arboretum prairies. In addition to its stature, this member of the Aster family (Asteraceae) can be identified by its large, deeply lobed leaves and yellow flowers. Compass Plant’s central taproot can reach 15 feet below the soil and individual plants can live to be 100 years old! This species gets its name from nineteenth century pioneers who observed that Compass Plant’s flowers and leaves often aligned in a North-South direction. Compass Plant typically blooms from July to late August and can be found throughout the Arboretum prairies.