Silphium perfoliatum L.

cup-plant rosinweed

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New England Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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North America Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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Facts About

The pairs of stem leaves of cup-plant rosinweed connect with each other around the stem and may hold water like a cup. Birds visit the plant to drink the water and eat the seeds. This plant, particularly the root, was widely used by Native Americans for medicinal and ceremonial purposes.

Habitat

Anthropogenic (man-made or disturbed habitats), shrublands or thickets

Characteristics

Habitat
terrestrial
New England state
  • Connecticut
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • Vermont
Leaf type
leaves are simple (i.e., lobed or unlobed but not separated into leaflets)
Leaf arrangement
  • opposite: there are two leaves per node along the stem
  • whorled: there are three or more leaves per node along the stem
Leaf blade edges
  • the edge of the leaf blade has no teeth or lobes
  • the edge of the leaf blade has teeth
Flower type in flower heads
the flower head has tubular disk flowers in the center and ray flowers, these often strap-shaped, around the periphery
Ray flower color
yellow
Tuft or plume on fruit
there is no plume, or the plume is made up of scales, awns, a crown, or a rim
Spines on plant
the plant has no spines
Leaf blade length
20–410 mm
Disk flower number
more than 50
Show All Characteristics
  • Flowers
    Bases of bract appendages
    NA
    Bract cycle number
    • there are three or more cycles of bracts
    • there are two main cycles of bracts
    Bract margins
    there are fine hairs along the bract margins
    Bract outer side hairs
    • the bracts are hairy on their outer surfaces
    • the bracts are not hairy on their outer surfaces
    Bract shape
    • the main bracts are elliptic (widest near the middle and tapered towards the base and tip)
    • the main bracts are ovate (egg-shaped)
    Bract tip shape
    • the tips of the bracts acute (have a sharp point)
    • the tips of the bracts are acuminate (tapered to a narrow point)
    Disk flower color
    yellow
    Disk flower lobe number
    5
    Disk flower number
    more than 50
    Disk flower reproductive parts
    the disk flower has either only pollen- or only seed-producing parts
    Disk width
    15–25 mm
    Flower head outer flowers
    at the outer edge of the flower head, each flower has a single enlarged lobe or strap
    Flower head platform
    the base has papery scales on it
    Flower head profile
    the disk is flat or nearly flat across the top
    Flower type in flower heads
    the flower head has tubular disk flowers in the center and ray flowers, these often strap-shaped, around the periphery
    Height of flower head base
    12–25 mm
    Inflorescence branching (Solidago)
    NA
    Inflorescence shape
    the inflorescence is not flat-topped but appears rounded, with some flower heads distinctly higher than others
    Number of bracts at flower head base
    25–37
    Ovary cross-section
    the ovary is compressed (flattened)
    Ovary hair type
    the ovary has no hairs on it
    Ovary hairs
    the ovary has no hairs on it
    Peduncle hairs
    the peduncles are hairy
    Ray flower color
    yellow
    Ray flower reproductive parts
    the ray flowers have carpels or stamens, but not both
    Ray flowers
    • 16-25
    • 26-50
    Ray length
    15–40 mm
    Reproductive system
    the flowers on the plant may have either carpels or stamens, but always in separate flowers
    Style branch number
    the style has one branch
    Width of flower head base
    25–40 mm
  • Fruits or seeds
    Ovary length in developed fruit
    8–12 mm
    Ovary width in developed fruit
    5–9 mm
    Seed hair tuft length
    0.5–1.5 mm
    Seed tuft type
    the pappus is made of stiff, tapering bristles
    Top of disk flower ovary
    NA
    Tuft or plume on fruit
    there is no plume, or the plume is made up of scales, awns, a crown, or a rim
  • Glands or sap
    Leaf blade glands
    the leaf blades have no glandular (translucent) dots or scales
    Sap
    the sap is clear and watery
  • Growth form
    Growth form
    the plant has one or more free-standing stems
    Plant lifespan
    the plant is perennial, it shows evidence of previous year's leaves, stems or stem bases
    Spines on plant
    the plant has no spines
    Underground organs
    there are only slender roots on the plant
  • Leaves
    Final leaf segment length (compound lvs only)
    0 mm
    Final leaf segment width (compound lvs only)
    0 mm
    Hairs on underside of leaf blade
    the underside of the leaf is fuzzy or hairy
    Hairs on upper side of leaf blade
    the upper side of the leaf is fuzzy or hairy
    Leaf arrangement
    • opposite: there are two leaves per node along the stem
    • whorled: there are three or more leaves per node along the stem
    Leaf blade base
    the leaf has no petiole and at the base it clasps the stem, or goes all the way around the stem so the stem appears to pierce the leaf
    Leaf blade base shape
    • the base of the leaf blade is cuneate (wedge-shaped, tapers to the base with relatively straight, converging edges), or narrow
    • the base of the leaf blade is truncate (ends abruptly in a more or less straight line as though cut off)
    Leaf blade bloom
    the underside of the leaf has no noticeable bloom
    Leaf blade edges
    • the edge of the leaf blade has no teeth or lobes
    • the edge of the leaf blade has teeth
    Leaf blade length
    20–410 mm
    Leaf blade shape
    • the leaf blade is lanceolate (lance-shaped; widest below the middle and tapering at both ends)
    • the leaf blade is ovate (widest below the middle and broadly tapering at both ends)
    • the leaf blade is triangular, with the stalk or attachment point on one of the sides
    Leaf blade surface colors
    there is no noticeable color variation on the upper surface of the leaf
    Leaf blade tip
    • the tip of the leaf blade is acuminate (tapers to a long, thin point)
    • the tip of the leaf blade is acute (sharply pointed)
    Leaf blade width
    5–240 mm
    Leaf disposition
    the leaves are nearly similar in size, prominence of teeth, and length of stalks throughout the stem
    Leaf spines
    there are no spines on the leaf edges
    Leaf stalk
    • the leaves have leaf stalks
    • the leaves have no leaf stalks, but attach directly to the stem
    Leaf tip extension
    NA
    Leaf type
    leaves are simple (i.e., lobed or unlobed but not separated into leaflets)
    Leaflet number
    0
    Specific leaf type
    the leaves are simple (i.e., lobed or unlobed but not separated into leaflets
  • Place
    Habitat
    terrestrial
    New England state
    • Connecticut
    • Maine
    • Massachusetts
    • Vermont
    Specific habitat
    • man-made or disturbed habitats
    • shrublands or thickets
  • Scent
    Plant odor
    the plant does not have much of an odor
  • Stem, shoot, branch
    Flowering stem cross-section
    the flowering stem is roughly square
    Leaves on stem
    there is at least one full leaf above the base of the flowering stem
    Stem bloom
    • the stem has a powdery or waxy film on it that can be rubbed away
    • there is no powdery or waxy film on the stem
    Stem internode hair length
    At least 0 mm
    Stem internode hairs
    • the stem has hairs between the nodes
    • the stem has no hairs between the nodes
    Stem wings
    the stem does not have wings on it

Wetland Status

Usually occurs in wetlands, but occasionally in non-wetlands. (Wetland indicator code: FACW)

New England Distribution and Conservation Status

Distribution

Connecticut
present, invasive, prohibited
Maine
present
Massachusetts
present
New Hampshire
present
Rhode Island
absent
Vermont
present

Conservation Status

Exact status definitions can vary from state to state. For details, please check with your state.

Massachusetts
unranked (S-rank: SNR)

var. perfoliatum

Massachusetts
unranked (S-rank: SNR)

Native to North America?

Yes and no (some introduced)

Family

Asteraceae

Genus

Silphium

Notes on Subspecies and Varieties in New England

Our variety is Silphium perfoliatum L. var. perfoliatum.

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Information from Dichotomous Key of Flora Novae Angliae

1.  Silphium perfoliatum L. var. perfoliatum E

cup-plant rosinweed. CT, MA, ME, VT. Ditches, thickets, trail edges, waste areas.