Silphium perfoliatum – Cup plant

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Cup plant (Silphium perfoliatum) is a perennial in the dandelion family.
Cup plants are native to prairies in the central United States. They can be found growing in partial to full sun in moist soil. The plant often forms large colonies by rhizome.
The cup plant is named for the cup that the leaves form where they attach to the stem. This cup gathers water, offering birds a place to drink in the summer months.
Cup plant leaves are toothed and pointed at the tip. Yellow composite flowers are formed in the summer. The plant can grow up to 10 feet tall in sunny areas.
The tops of the plant with the young leaves are the most desired part of the plant. The leaves have a strong flavor raw, but blanching helps to mellow out the flavor. The young leaves can be cooked and eaten like spinach. By mid-summer the leaves become too fibrous and strong-flavored for consumption, but mature leaves can still be used to wrap food.

Written by Amy Demers, founder of the Connecticut Foraging Club. To learn more about foraging in Connecticut, check out our upcoming classes.

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