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For Your Garden - September 2009

Summer can be a stressful time for plants. High temperatures, drought, diseases and insects can all affect the plants in your garden. How can you maintain your garden's beauty throughout this season? Use native wildflowers and grasses! Native species are adapted to the Illinois climate. They require little or no watering and are resistant to drought, insects and diseases. They also provide food and shelter for native wildlife. Their brilliantly colored blossoms and interesting shapes will make your landscape a showplace. Because they are perennials, you can welcome their presence year after year.

compass-plant (Silphium laciniatum)

Compass-plant grows in prairies and along roadsides throughout the state, although it is not as commonly found in the southern counties as it is in the rest of Illinois. The basal leaves can be about one foot in length, and smaller leaves are present in an alternating pattern on the flower stalk. The basal leaves have many divisions. The flower stalk can reach eight feet in height. Compass-plant blooms from June through September. The flowers are yellow with a yellow center and are produced at the tip of the flowering stalk. Compass-plant got its common name because its leaves are held vertically in a north to south plane.

Classification and taxonomy are based on Mohlenbrock, Robert H. 2014. Vascular flora of Illinois: A field guide. Fourth edition. Southern Illinois University Press, Carbondale. 536 pp.

Illinois Range

Native Plant Information

For more information about Illinois native plants, visit our Native Habitat Descriptions, Requirements, and Plant Lists page. The following publications are available from the IDNR on our publications page.


​Kingdom: Plantae
Phylum: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Asterales
Family: Asteraceae

Illinois Status: common, native