The Prairie’s guide…

The Lurie Garden would not be a complete prairie garden without the presence of the prairie native, Compass Plant (Silphium laciniatum). The wide leaves seem to use their shape to point north and south. In truth they turn their leaves to face the sun in the east and west which results in the “points” aiming east and west. It’s height can reach nine feet making it easy to find among the dense prairielands. Copyright 2022 Pamela Breitberg
Compass Plants are hosts to a multitude of insects with up to eighty insects per stem. Read more here. It’s primary importance is to insure a healthy prairie ecosystem; more important than aiding human travels through the prairie. Another human use was by Native Americans; they called it Gum Weed, using the sap as a bitter chewing gum. The yellow sunflower-like blooms stay close to the stem while rising tall enough above other plants to draw attention. Copyright 2022 Pamela Breitberg
Here the sun shines through, lighting up the yellow flowers of the Compass Plant. Surrounding it are other natives to the prairie such as the Rattlesnake Master and Switch Grass. The heights of the buildings in the background mimic the tall blooming prairie natives. Copyright 2022 Pamela Breitberg


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