Silphium perfoliatum (Cup Plant)
A big beast of a plant for the sun garden. Starting with a low mound of coarse foliage, this North American native sends up huge stalks up to 8-9' that each produce several bright, cheerful, small, and sunflower-like flowers in mid to late summer. Its seeds are favored by a wide range of birds in late fall and early winter and makes quite a statement in the garden! The name cup plant comes from the way the base of each leaf wraps around the stem and connects with the leaf on the opposite side. Because of this connection around the stem the two leaves hold water. In the morning, a heavy dew will run down the leaves and collect in this 'cup' which provides water for insects and small birds during the heat of the summer.