Our cup plants near the woods behind the house were in bright morning sunlight today. Weeks ago, this particular plant was standing tall with flower buds showing. A deer passed by soon after and ate the tops. Today, the plant rewarded us with this view after having grown back for another try.
Two features of silphium perfoliatum stand out in addition to the cheerful yellow flowers. The main stem is square, not round. And, they have leaves arranged to cup and gather water. Read more about these plants here.
Nature sure is full of interesting organisms with myriad strategies for survival.
It is fun to discover them.
The thought of goldfinches drinking from the cupped leaves made me smile. Just this summer, I found Silphium simpsonii, another impressive rosinweed. The one I found was taller than I am by a good bit, and I see that this one can gain some height, too.
We don’t have this species, but when I was looking I found another species that shows up only in Alabama: Silphium perplexum. That made me laugh, and piqued my interest. I found that “All of the known Silphium perplexum populations are within 13.5 km of the Cahaba River.” Trying to figure out why that might be so may have left botanists perplexed!
I like the perplexum species name. There are a lot of this type of plant. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silphium_(genus)
I have cup plant in my garden as well. I admire how the buttresses on its stem hold it rigid so it can stand tall. The goldfinches have multiple layers of seeds to enjoy that way! 🙂
It is a very interesting plant. Nice to have it around.