New Moon Nurseries

Search by Characteristic

Silphium laciniatum

Compass plant

Native to North America


A tall sturdy coarse plant with bristles on the resounous stems up to 9 feet tall. Produced sunflower-like flowers up to 5" across with yellow rays and yellow center disks. Flowers bloom in loose spikes on the upper parts of the plant in summer. Leaves are large, up to 18 inches, and are deeply pinnatifid, reminiscent of pin oak leaves. Upper leaves are smaller. Basal leaves usually orient themselves on a north-south axis so as to minimize intense overhead sun exposure, thus the name compass plant. Split or broken stems exude a gummy, fragrant-but-bitter resin which was used by Native Americans as a mouth-cleansing chewing gum. Many of the silphiums are commonly called rosinweed for this reason.    


5-9 ft


2-3 ft


2-3 ft

USDA Hardiness Zone:

3 - 8

Bloom Color:


Silphium laciniatum Characteristics

Attracts Wildlife

  • Pollinators
  • Butterflies


  • Interesting Foliage
  • Drought Tolerant
  • Cut Flower
  • Clay Soil
  • Rock Garden
  • Naturalizing
  • Long Blooming


  • Full Sun

Flowering Months

  • September
  • August
  • July

Foliage Color

  • Green

Growth Rate

  • Slow

Season of Interest (Foliage)

  • Summer
  • Spring

Soil Moisture Preference

  • Average

Plants that work well with Silphium laciniatum ''

Butterfly weed Butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa)
Summer phlox Summer phlox (Phlox paniculata)
Switch grass Switch grass (Panicum virgatum)