Silphium perfoliatum

Cup Plant

A native of the tallgrass prairie, this perennial giant sports wonderfully cheerful yellow daisy-like flowers on long, stout stalks reaching up to 8′ in height!

Even more interesting than the flowers are the coarse leaves from which this species gets its name. Borne opposite one another on the stem, the large leaves fuse together at their bases to form a “cup” of sorts. Even on the hottest summer days one can usually find water from the morning dew collected within these miniature green receptacles.

Although Silphium perfoliatum is rarely seen in the garden, it should still be considered for those with lots of sunny space. The clean, dark green foliage makes an excellent backdrop for smaller perennials, and the bright yellow blooms are airy enough to not compete with any neighbors for visual prominence.