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Silphium perfoliatum

Silphium perfoliatum L.

 

Cup Plant, Indian Cup, Ragged Cup, Carpenter Weed

KingdomPlantaePlants, but not fungi, lichens, or algae
SubkingdomTracheobiontaVascular plants—plants with a “circulatory system” for delivering water and nutrients
DivisionMagnoliophytaFlowering plants, also known as angiosperms
ClassMagnoliopsidaDicotyledons—plants with two initial seed leaves
SubclassAsteridaeA large class that encompasses asters
OrderAsteralesFlowering plants with a central disk flower and surrounding petals, like daisies
FamilyAsteraceaeThe aster family, which also includes daisies and sunflowers; from the Greek ἀστήρ, “star,” for the star-shaped flowers
GenusSilphium
Speciesperfoliatum

About plant names...

Cup plant, named for the cup-shaped depression formed where opposing leaves meet the stem, is another member of the very large aster family. It is a North American native.

Identification: Plants are 4-10' (1.2-3 m) tall, on single stalks that branch only near the flowering top. They could be mistaken for a type of sunflower, except for the unusual leaves. The stem is thick and hairless, four-sided, and green or purple. Leaves are opposite, joined to each other at the stems, producing a depression between them that holds water. The trapped water often attracts birds. Leaves are rough to the touch, and coarsely toothed. Flowers have a dark yellow central disk surrounded by 18-40 bright yellow petals (“ray florets”). They appear from July to October. Fruits are egg-shaped achenes ¼-½" (7.6-12 mm) long, with wings.

Silphium perfoliatum (Cup Plant, Indian Cup, Ragged Cup, Carpenter Weed)

From Britton, Nathaniel Lord, and Brown, Addison, An illustrated flora of the northern United States, Canada and the British Possessions, 1913; scanned by the Natural Resources Conservation Service.

Online References:

Silphium perfoliatum at Kansas Native Plants

Silphium perfoliatum at Illinois Wildflowers

Silphium perfoliatum at the University of Wisconsin's Robert W. Freckmann Herbarium

Silphium perfoliatum on Wikipedia

Silphium perfoliatum at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

Silphium perfoliatum on hort.net

Silphium perfoliatum on Kansas Wildflowers and Grasses

Silphium perfoliatum at the Missouri Botanical Garden

Silphium perfoliatum on the USDA Plants Database (PDF)

Silphium perfoliatum (Cup Plant, Indian Cup, Ragged Cup, Carpenter Weed)

8/19/2010 · Nod Rd., Groton, MA
≈ 24 × 16" (62 × 41 cm)

Silphium perfoliatum (Cup Plant, Indian Cup, Ragged Cup, Carpenter Weed)

8/19/2010 · Nod Rd., Groton, MA
≈ 17 × 12" (44 × 29 cm)

Silphium perfoliatum description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 16 Aug 2013.

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Silphium perfoliatum (Cup Plant, Indian Cup, Ragged Cup, Carpenter Weed)

8/19/2010 · Nod Rd., Groton, MA
≈ 8 × 5" (19 × 13 cm)

Silphium perfoliatum (Cup Plant, Indian Cup, Ragged Cup, Carpenter Weed)

8/19/2010 · Nod Rd., Groton, MA
≈ 8 × 5" (19 × 13 cm)

Silphium perfoliatum (Cup Plant, Indian Cup, Ragged Cup, Carpenter Weed)

8/19/2010 · Nod Rd., Groton, MA
≈ 24 × 16" (62 × 41 cm)

Silphium perfoliatum (Cup Plant, Indian Cup, Ragged Cup, Carpenter Weed)

8/19/2010 · Nod Rd., Groton, MA
≈ 24 × 16" (62 × 41 cm)

Silphium perfoliatum (Cup Plant, Indian Cup, Ragged Cup, Carpenter Weed)

8/19/2010 · Nod Rd., Groton, MA
≈ 3½ × 2½' (1.2 × 0.8 m)

Range: Zones 3-9:

About this map...