Compass Plant (Silphium laciniatum)

Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
Compass Plant
Silphium laciniatum

None known

  • Medicinal Use

    The resin obtained from the plant is diuretic[4, 61, 222]. It imparts a strong aromatic odour to urine[4].

    A tea made from the roots is vermifuge and a tonic for general debility[4, 61, 222]. It is used as an expectorant in coughs and other pulmonary ailments[4]. A decoction of the smaller roots has been used as an emetic[257].

    A tea made from the leaves is emetic, it has also been used in the treatment of coughs, lung ailments and asthma[222].

  • Edible Use

    A resin exudes naturally from the plant, and can also be obtained by incision[4]. It is an inexpensive substitute for mastic and is used as a chewing gum to sweeten the breath[4, 61, 105, 257]. It forms on the upper part of the flowering stem[183].

  • Cautionary Notes

    There is a report that the plant might be toxic[222].

Cultivation & Habitat

Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a greenhouse[200]. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots as soon as they are large enough to handle and plant them out in the summer. Division in spring[188]. This is very difficult due to the deep and extensive root system.
Succeeds in any ordinary garden soil[1]. Prefers a deep moisture retentive moderately fertile soil that is not too nitrogen rich, in sun or dappled shade[200]. Prefers a shady position[200]. A very ornamental plant[1]. Leaves of young plants tip vertically and align themselves north to south to minimise exposure to the midday sun[200]. Plants have a deep and extensive root system which makes transplanting difficult[200].
Central N. America – Ohio to Minnesota, south to Alabama and Texas.

Become ungovernable, break the chains of the matrix; grow and forage your own food and medicine.

*None of the information on this website qualifies as professional medical advice. Take only what resonates with your heart and use your own personal responsibility for what’s best for you. For more information [brackets] [000], see bibliography.