Rosin-Weed; Compass Plant (Silphium Laciniatum) is a large, showy-flowered plant found on the western prairies. It has a stout, rough, bristly stem that attains heights of from three to ten feet. The stem grows from a perennial root; it exudes copious, resinous juices. The large leaves are pinnately divided, each division being linear and cut-lobed; they are on long, broad petioles that spread into clasping bases.
The flower heads are very large, measuring from two to four inches across. They are sessile or exceedingly short-stemmed, seated along the upper portion of the stout stem. Their arrangement is quite similar to that of Chicory, the well known and common flower in the East. The bracts of the involucre are long and taper into spreading points, that spread nearly as wide as the ray florets; the central, tubular florets form a large, flat orange "button" and are surrounded by bright yellow, notched rays. The lower and root leaves are very large, ranging from one to three feet in length. They are disposed to present their edges north and south. Compass plant is found on prairies from Mich, to North Dakota and southwards; it blooms from July until September.
Prairie Dock (Silphium Terbinthinaceum Pinnatifidium) , in spite of its cumbersome Latin name, is rather an attractive plant that also grows on prairies and the edges of copses. The smooth, slender stom ascends 3 to 10 feet high and bears a loose panide of large, yellow-rayed flower heads. The leaves mostly come from the root and lower part of the stem- they are slender-petioled and deeply pinnatifid. Found from O, to Minn, and southwards
Elecampane. Inula helenium.
Elecampane (Inula Helenium) (European) is a tall, stout, beautiful member of the composite family that comes to us from the old world. It has become naturalized and is now common throughout the eastern half of the United States.
The stout, smooth, usually unbranched stalk grows from 2 to 6 feet in height and is leafy throughout. At the summit of the stem is a single, or sometimes two, large flower set on a peduncle from the angle of the upper leaf. A smaller, flat, bract-like leaf appear just below the flower involucre. The head measures two or three inches across and has a broad disc of tubular, yellow florets, these turning tan color as they age. The yellow rays are numerous, but very narrow, usually set at different angles and with some vacant places so that the flower has a rather disheveled appearance.
The upper leaves usually clasp the plant stem, while the lower ones are on petioles. They are broad, thick-textured, toothed and pointed; the large, whitish veins show very prominently; the upper surface of the leaf is rough, yellowish-green, while the lower is lighter and woolly. They alternate quite closely along the stem.
The leaves were formerly used by industrious country housewives for the concoction of various home remedies and doubtless proved effective. The roots yield a mucilaginous juice that was supposed to have healing and antiseptic properties. Bees, butterflies and small moths are usually seen about the beautiful flower heads, and are the chief agents for cross-fertilization.
A. Robin's Plantain.
B. Purple Cone Flower.