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(Silphium perfoliatum)

Host Species: Bordered Patch (Chlosyne lacinia) and Silphius Borer Moth (Papaipema silphiii)

Nectar Plant: many insects including other butterflies, bees, and wasps. Birds, enjoy the seeds in the fall.

Flower Color: yellow

Growth Habit: herbaceous perennial

Flowering Time: July to September

Range in North America: Mid-western, south-central and parts of the eastern United States and Ontario, Quebec, and New Brunswick in Canada

Exposure: Prefers full sun

Hardiness: Zones 3-9

Soil Requirements: medium to wet well-drained soil that is circumneutral

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Cup-Plant (Silphium perfoliatum)

Yellow flower of cup-plant (Silphium perfoliatum) with a bee.

Cup-plant Flower with a bee.


Cup-Plant (Silphium perfoliatum), a member of the Asteraceae (Aster Family), is a herbaceous perennial that grows from 3′ to 8′ tall and blooms with yellow flowers in the summer to early fall (July to September).  This plant grows in places with full sun that have dry circumneutral well-drained soils, but can handle moist soil and is hardy in zones 3-9.  More information on this species can be found on this blog post.

Hosted Species

Bordered patch butterfly (Chlosyne lacinia) on a yellow flower.
Bordered Patch Butterfly — Insects Unlocked from USA, CC0 1.0, via Wikimedia Commons

This species hosts the Bordered Patch Butterfly (Chlosyne lacinia) in the western part of its range and the silphius borer moth (Papaipema silphii), throughout.

Nectar Species

This species is a nectar source to other butterflies, skippers, bees, and wasps during the growing season.  Birds, such as goldfinch, like to eat the seeds in the fall.


Cup-plant grows in open areas such as prairies, open forests, wet meadows, floodplains, and thickets, and roadsides.

Range of Cup-plant (Silphium perfoliatum) in the United States and Canada


Range of cup-plant (Silphium perfoliatum) in the United States and Canada.

Cup-plant is native to the mid-western, south-central, and parts of the eastern United States and northeast Canada.

Origin of the Name

The genus name, Silphium, is derived from the Greek word that originated from a resin-bearing plant (Missouri Botanical Garden).  The species name, perfoliatum, is Latin for the perfoliate leaves.


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