Compass plant is a native prairie wildflower in the Asteraceae family, also known as the sunflower family. Compass plant has a brilliant yellow inflorescence.
It is highly palatable and sought out by cattle, the abundance of it is a classic indicator of grazing pressure.
Songbirds and small mammals eat the large achenes*.
The showy heads serve as a nectar source for various butterfly species.
A mature compass plant has 6-30 flowers that bloom during mid-summer for about a month and a half. Compass plant can live up to 100 years.
Native Americans used different parts of the plant to cure body pains, head colds and digestive upsets. Teas were used as a horse tonic. Native American children and settlers used the resinous sap as chewing gum.
*Achene: Small, dry indehiscent, 1-seeded fruit.