(Inula Helenium) Thistle family

Flower-heads - Large, yellow, solitary or a few, 2 to 4 in.

across; on long, stout peduncles; the scaly green involucre

nearly 1 in. high, holding disk florets surrounded by a fringe of

long, very narrow, 3-toothed ray florets. Stem: Usually

unbranched, 2 to 6 ft. high, hairy above. Leaves: Alternate,

large, broadly oblong, pointed, saw-edged, rough above, woolly

beneath some with heart-shaped, clasping bases.

Preferred Habitat - Roadsides, fields, fence rows, damp pastures.

Flowering Season - July-September.

Distribution - Nova Scotia to the Carolinas, and westward to

Minnesota and Missouri.

"September may be described as the month of tall weeds;" says

John Burroughs. "Where they have been suffered to stand, along

fences, by roadsides, and in forgotten corners,- redroot,

ragweed, vervain, goldenrod, burdock, elecampane, thistles,

teasels, nettles, asters, etc. - how they lift themselves up as

if not afraid to be seen now! They are all outlaws; every man's

hand is against them yet how surely they hold their own. They

love the roadside, because here they are comparatively safe and

ragged and dusty, like the common tramps that they are, they form

one of the characteristic features of early fall."

Yet the elecampane has not always led a vagabond existence. Once

it had its passage paid across the Atlantic, because special

virtue was attributed to its thick, mucilaginous roots as a

horse-medicine. For over two thousand years it has been employed

by home doctors in Europe and Asia; and at first Old World

immigrants thought they could not live here without the plant on

their farms. Once given a chance to naturalize itself, no

composite is slow in seizing it. The vigorous elecampane, rearing

its fringy, yellow disks above lichen-covered stone walls in New

England, the Virginia rail fence, and the rank weedy growth along

barbed-wire barriers farther west, now bids fair to cross the


EASTERN CACTUS PRICKLY PEAR INDIAN FIG ENCHANTER'S NIGHTSHADE facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail