This section is from the book "A Manual Of Weeds", by Ada E. Georgia. Also available from Amazon: A Manual Of Weeds.
Introduced. Perennial. Propagates by seeds.
Time of bloom: July to September.
Seed-time: August to October.
Range: Nova Scotia to Minnesota, southward to North Carolina and Missouri.
Habitat: Old fields, pastures, roadsides, barnyards, and waste places.
In former days a small patch of this plant was often kept by country people for the relief of asthmatic horses, "to help the heaves" - the thick, fleshy, mucilaginous, yellow taproot being the part used; it is still valued medicinally and collectors receive three to five cents a pound for it, collected in the autumn of the second year of growth, sliced, and dried.
Fig. 311. - Elecampane (Inula Helenium). X 1/8.
The plant sends up in the first year only a clump of large leaves, long ovate, light green, the upper surface rough but the under surface downy-hairy, sometimes two feet in length and six or eight inches wide, with stout, hairy petioles. Fruiting stalks appear in the second year, three to six feet tall, stout, hairy, simple or sometimes branched, the leaves alternate, sessile and clasping. Heads terminal, solitary or few, two to four inches broad, on stout, hairy peduncles; rays yellow, numerous, linear, pistillate; disk-florets perfect and fertile; bracts of the involucre triple-rowed, the outer ones broad and leafy. Achenes brown, smooth, four-angled, with a pappus of bristly hairs. (Fig. 311.)
Deep cutting with sharp spud or hoe, dry salt or carbolic acid being applied to the shorn root.