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Cup-plant Silphium perfoliatum

Other Common Name(s):

Phonetic Spelling
SIL-phee-um pur-foe-lee-AY-tum
Description

Common cup-plant is a native wildflower in the Asteraceae (daisy) family.  It may self-seed.  It typically grows to around 6', however, can grow to reach 9' tall.  

It is commonly found in open woods, lake borders, ditches, meadows, prairies, and thickets. 

The common name Cup Plant is in reference to the stout leaves that join at the stem, forming a cup that will hold water.  Birds, especially goldfinches, are attracted to the water and also eat the seeds. Bumblebees and honey bees use parts of the plant for nesting.  Short-tongued bees, wasps and flies frequent the flowers for pollen and nectar.  

Although it is clay soil tolerant, the preferred soil for planting is loam based.  

The lower leaves can drop during periods of drought.  The leaves and buds can turn brown, grow stunted and flowers may fall off in response to drought or disease.

When propagating from seed, this plant may not produce flowers until its second season.  Once established, the plant will have created deep roots, making it somewhat difficult to remove or transplant.  Young offshoots from the main plant can be more easily removed and/or transplanted.

Both tall and large, this plant is good for prairie, native or wildflower gardens, and naturalized areas.  Reproducing by the abundance of seed, they will spread throughout the landscape.  

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:  Red aphids are occasionally found on the underside of the leaves.  A top-heavy plant, the stem can topple during high winds.  It self seeds easily and can be aggressive.

 

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#full sun tolerant#drought tolerant#weedy#native perennials#disease resistant#aggressive#NC native#summer flowers#colonies#self-seeding#pollinator plant#native wildflower#food source summer#food source nectar#food source pollen#Coastal FAC#Piedmont Mountains FAC#clay soils tolerant#bird friendly#dry soils tolerant#food source hard mast fruit#butterfly friendly#bee friendly#host plant#Audubon#colonizing#short-lived perennials#butterflies#butterfly#insect resistant#colony#butterfly garden#pollinator garden
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#full sun tolerant#drought tolerant#weedy#native perennials#disease resistant#aggressive#NC native#summer flowers#colonies#self-seeding#pollinator plant#native wildflower#food source summer#food source nectar#food source pollen#Coastal FAC#Piedmont Mountains FAC#clay soils tolerant#bird friendly#dry soils tolerant#food source hard mast fruit#butterfly friendly#bee friendly#host plant#Audubon#colonizing#short-lived perennials#butterflies#butterfly#insect resistant#colony#butterfly garden#pollinator garden
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Silphium
    Species:
    perfoliatum
    Family:
    Asteraceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    Naturalizing
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Southeastern US
    Distribution:
    AL, AR, CT, GA, IA, IL, In, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, NC, ND, NE, NJ, NY, OH, OK, PA, SD, TN, VA, TT, WI, WV
    Wildlife Value:
    The flowers attract hummingbirds and butterflies. Birds water on the small cup that is created by the foliage. The larvae of Antistrophus sp (Gall Wasp) eat the stems of the plant.
    Play Value:
    Attractive Flowers
    Easy to Grow
    Wildlife Cover/Habitat
    Wildlife Food Source
    Dimensions:
    Height: 4 ft. 0 in. - 8 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 1 ft. 0 in. - 3 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Native Plant
    Perennial
    Wildflower
    Habit/Form:
    Erect
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Coarse
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Loam (Silt)
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Alkaline (>8.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasional Flooding
    Occasionally Dry
    Occasionally Wet
    Available Space To Plant:
    3 feet-6 feet
    NC Region:
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    3a, 3b, 4a, 4b, 5b, 5a, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9b, 9a
  • Fruit:
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Summer
    Fruit Description:
    Displaying from July to September, the fruit is a winged seed. They are formed from the ray flowers from the outer ring of the disk.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Head
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Long Bloom Season
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Radial
    Flower Petals:
    more than 20 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    3-6 inches
    Flower Description:
    3 to 4 in. flower heads with 20 to 30 yellow rays surrounding the disc flowers. Blooms from June to August
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Rough
    Leaf Type:
    Compound (Pinnately , Bipinnately, Palmately)
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Opposite
    Leaf Shape:
    Cordate
    Lanceolate
    Leaf Margin:
    Serrate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Two upper leaves surround the flower stalk, forming a shallow cup that will hold water which attracts birds. Large, rough, deeply pinnatified leaves, coarsely toothed lower leaves contract into a winged stalk. The lower leaves and basal leaves typically fall off and wither by the time the flowers open.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Red/Burgundy
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Buds:
    Smooth/Hairless
    Stem Cross Section:
    Square
    Stem Surface:
    Smooth (glabrous)
    Stem Description:
    The main stem is thick, hairless and has four sides. The smooth, square stems are unbranched with the exception for panicles of flowering stems.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Meadow
    Naturalized Area
    Pond
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Cottage Garden
    Native Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Rock Garden
    Design Feature:
    Border
    Mass Planting
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Butterflies
    Hummingbirds
    Pollinators
    Songbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Diseases
    Drought
    Dry Soil
    Insect Pests
    Problems:
    Weedy