Silphium laciniatum
Compass plant
Image of Silphium laciniatum

Photo by Michael A. Kost 

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Key Characteristics

Stout forb (2 m) of mesic prairies; stem roughly hairy, bearing large alternate leaves that are deeply and sharply pinnately dissected; inflorescence narrow and elongated with several large sunflower-like heads (4-8 cm across).

Status and Rank

  • State Status: T
  • State Rank: S1S2
  • Global Rank: G5

Occurrences

County NameNumber of OccurrencesYear Last Observed
Berrien32009
Cass21981
Delta11991
Kalamazoo11980
Menominee12005
Washtenaw21983
Wayne22002
Distribution map for Silphium laciniatum

Updated 1/31/2017. Information is summarized from MNFI's database of rare species and community occurrences. Data may not reflect true distribution since much of the state has not been thoroughly surveyed.

Habitat

Compass-plant occurs in mesic and dry-mesic prairie remnants, although the majority of extant populations appear to be waifs in degraded habitats along rights-of-way outside the core range of the species.

Natural Community Types

Methodology

For each species, lists of natural communities were derived from review of the nearly 6,500 element occurrences in the MNFI database, in addition to herbarium label data for some taxa. In most cases, at least one specimen record exists for each listed natural community. For certain taxa, especially poorly collected or extirpated species of prairie and savanna habitats, natural community lists were derived from inferences from collection sites and habitat preferences in immediately adjacent states (particularly Indiana and Illinois). Natural communities are not listed for those species documented only from altered or ruderal habitats in Michigan, especially for taxa that occur in a variety of habitats outside of the state.

Natural communities are not listed in order of frequency of occurrence, but are rather derived from the full set of natural communities, organized by Ecological Group. In many cases, the general habitat descriptions should provide greater clarity and direction to the surveyor. In future versions of the Rare Species Explorer, we hope to incorporate natural community fidelity ranks for each taxon.

Associated Plants

Big bluestem, little bluestem, cordgrass, prairie coreopsis, wild geranium, pale-leaved sunflower, false boneset, smooth sumac, rosin weed, yellow-pimpernel, hoary vervain, prairie violet, and golden alexanders.

Management

To maintain this species, protect the habitat and hydrological and natural disturbance regimes. This species likely requires natural disturbances associated with prairie habitat such as fire or brush removal to prevent woody plant succession. Significant increases in vegetative and reproductive vigor have been observed following early spring and fall burns. Much of this habitat type has been lost or severely degraded. Many prairie remnants are vulnerable to common right-of-way maintenance activities such as mowing, herbiciding, and bulldozing.

General Survey Guidelines

Random meander search covers areas that appear likely to have rare taxa, based on habitat and the judgment of the investigator.

Survey Methods

Page Citation

Michigan Natural Features Inventory. 2007. Rare Species Explorer (Web Application). Available online at http://mnfi.anr.msu.edu/explorer [Accessed Jun 25, 2017]

More Information

See MNFI Species Abstract

References

Survey References

Technical References

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