(Compass plant, Pilot plant, Polar plant)
This tall, sturdy prairie plant makes an imposing statement in the garden with its large, deeply cut leaves and yellow sunflower-like flowers that face east and bloom in late summer and early fall. The leaves of the compass plant can grow up to 18 inches long and are deeply incised with a shape that looks like something from a painting by Matisse. They align themselves on a north-south axis to conserve moisture by avoiding the midday sun. This plant requires a few years to enlarge and flower, but once its deep roots are anchored, it will live for many years.