(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 continent.


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