Robustly built, it bends little in the prairie wind. The flower is one of many yellow sun-like prairie species, yet the plant’s superior stature is prominent among even the tallest grasses. Pioneers thought its large, deeply incised leaves pointed the way; always pointing north and south, consequently named Compass Plant (Silphium laciniatum). The direct lighting found shortly after sunrise brought attention to the dense hairy stalks. Prolific plant life is prime habitat for animal life so it was not surprising to find these beetles inside the flower; the surprise was their quantity.
For more information on the Compass Plant see my blog posts on 11/6/2011, “One Last Bloom” and 7/4/2012 “Soaking Up the Sun”.