June Flora Spotlight:
Cup Plant 

Cup Plant
Silphium perfoliatum
 

Cup Plant, is named because its large broad leaves form a "cup" where they attach to the square stem. These cups catch and retain rainwater for insects and birds. Cup Plant is also considered "carnivorous" because it absorbs the insects that drown in its cups. This native perennial is a member of the Aster (Asteraceae) family grows in clumps and can reach up to eight feet tall. Best used in the back of your border or as a screening plant in the landscape. In addition, it produces sunny yellow flowers from June to September. Provide moist, moderately rich, well-drained, neutral to alkaline soil for best results, but plants are fairly adaptable. Plant in full sun or part shade.

Cup Plant is quite easy to grow. It can be readily started from seed by fall planting outdoors, or, if planted in spring, a period of 60 days of moist, cold stratification is recommended prior to sowing. 

The single best species for attracting birds! It provides food, water and cover. Hummingbirds and butterflies are attracted to the nectar, while the seeds are favorites of goldfinches in the fall. Historically, this plant was a general medicinal agent, used for fevers, ulcers, liver and spleen problems, as a stimulant, antispasmodic and to treat general physical debility. 

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