Elecampane. Inula helenium L.

Figure 48.—Elecampane (Inula helenium)

Other Common Names

Inula, inul, horseheal, elf dock, elfwort, horse elder, scabwort, yellow starwort, velvet dock, wild sunflower.

Habitat And Range

This herb is found along roadsides and fields and damp Pastures from Nova Scotia to North Carolina and westward to Missouri and


Elecampane is a rough plant growing from 3 to 6 feet in height and bearing some resemblance to the sunflower. In its first year it produces only root leaves which acquire considerable size, but in the following season the stout, densely hairy stem develops, attaining a height of from 3 to 6 feet. The basal or root leaves are borne on long stems and are from 10 to 20 inches long and 4 to 8 inches wide, while the upper leaves are smaller and clasp the stem. From July to September the flower heads are produced, either singly or a few together. There are from 2 to 4 inches broad, consist of a yellow disk and long, narrow, yellow rays, and resemble, as stated, small sunflowers. The plant has a large, long, branching, yellow root.

Part Used

The root, preferably collected in the fall of the second year and thoroughly freed from dirt, sliced crosswise or lengthwise and carefully dried in the shade.