Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie
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  • Compass Plant

    SCIENTIFIC NAME: Silphium laciniatum

    COMMON NAMES: Compass Plant, Gum Weed, Pilotweed, Prairie Compass Plant, Polar Plant, Cut-leaf Silphium, Turpentine Plant, Robinson's Compassplant, Rosinweed

    BLOOM TIME: June, July, Aug, Sept

    Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie credit: R. Kapala


    • Tap root is up to 15 feet long, while the plant is only 3 to 8 foot tall.
    • Can live 100 years.
    • Native American children used resin as chewing gum.
    • Pioneers believed leaves pointed in a north-south direction.
    • Flowers are yellow and resemble sunflowers.


    • Long-tongued bees are the primary pollinators of the flowers.
    • Occasionally, Sulfur butterflies and Monarchs may visit the flowers for nectar.