Field of Science

Friday Fabulous Flower - Compass Plant

As mentioned yesterday, the prairie is in bloom, and given the reasonably abundant rain, the vegetation is lush and tall.  The compass plant (Silphium laciniatum) is one of the prairie emergents whose inflorescence emerges above the other prairie vegetation at least at this time of year.  The inflorescences are around 6-6.5 feet tall and it is just beginning to flower, and as this image shows it is quite stunning.  Each "flower" is actually an inflorescence typical of the sunflower/aster family.  The image of a flower, and without question the image floral visitors react to is the whole "bloom", is presented by the ray flowers around the periphery each with a strap-like corolla lobe and the central disk flowers each with a smaller 5-lobed corolla.  Each "bloom" is around 3 inches across.  This is a common enough strategy; when you have small flowers, cluster them together for a bigger display. 

1 comment:

Beth at PlantPostings said...

Yes, that is a nifty plant. And the foliage is fascinating on its own. The native plants are doing so well this year--good to see after last year's drought.