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Insect elixir

I got some nice feedback about the photo I posted on July 4th of some beautiful yellow flowers growing in our backyard.  Since then, the blooms have multiplied and are apparently full of the butterfly equivalent of crack:

butterfly yellow flower

All day every day butterflies (and bees and hummingbirds) swarm around the prolific yellow blooms.

insect elixir

I’ve asked several people what sort of plant this is.  The best guesses so far have been swamp daisies or some sort of sunflower.  But neither of those seems exactly right, at least based on my amateur Google research.  Each stalk is around eight feet tall, with large, jagged leaves that emerge from its sides.  For most of its growth cycle, it looks like a weed on ‘roids.  The flowers are daisy-like with numerous yellow petals around a dark orange center.  It’s clearly a species that thrives in full sun.  Last year the blooms weren’t nearly as impressive, but have improved since I removed the walnut saplings that surrounded it.

Can anybody ID this plant?

6 Comments Post a comment
  1. mom #

    How about a cup flower?

    July 18, 2013
    • jrh #

      That’s it! Apparently it’s named for the way the leaves capture water against the stem when it rains. The availability of water and nourishment explains the plant’s popularity with insects.

      July 19, 2013
  2. Leslie #

    I think it’s some sort of echinacea.

    July 18, 2013
  3. Silphium perfoliatum.

    July 18, 2013
    • jrh #

      I’ve never understood how people can keep the Latin names for plants straight in their head…but this is definitely the plant, commonly known as a cup plant. Thanks!

      July 19, 2013
  4. J-C #

    It looks like a type of “Inula”. They grow in the wild, and some varieties can grow to immense sizes.

    July 21, 2013

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