Kidney-leaf Sunflower - Composite Leaf Rosinweed
Ovate Leaf Rosinweed
Silphium compositum Michaux
Asteraceae (Composite Sunflower) Family


Plant is an upright, hairy or smooth perennial with a taproot. Preferred habitat is prairies, open meadows and the margin of thin woods. Distribution is throughout the Escambia region.

Leaves are mostly basal and alternate on the stem; consisting of one whole part; large but reduced upwards. Smaller leaves more or less clasp the stem while lower leaves are on long leaf stalks. Leaf margins are deeply dissected with each lobe having a stiff bristled tip.

Flowers are in an open raceme of heads; symmetrical in form. Disc flowers are sterile; greenish. Ray flowers are bisexual and number a few to as many as 12; yellow. Flowers occur in early summer.

This plant is one of a group of tall, mostly prairie sunflowers. The common name refers to the brilliant yellow flowers. The species name is related to its deeply incised leaves which closely resemble those of the Compass Plant. All members yield a gum resin that is fragrant and bitter like frankincense; white or amber color, which was chewed by Indians to sweeten the breath. The resin is said to have diuretic properties and imparts a strong, aromatic odor to the urine. The root has been used as an expectorant in coughs and other pulmonary ailments. The plant, when ingested, is said to be emetic in decoction, and to have effected cures in intermittent fevers, and to have cured the heaves in horses. They are beneficial in dry, obstinate coughs, asthmatic affections, and pulmonary catarrhal diseases. A strong infusion or extract is said to be one of the best remedies for the removal of ague cake, or enlarged spleen, and for internal bruises, liver affections, and ulcers.

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