← Back to Plant Finder

Cup Plant
Silphium perfoliatum

A robust, native, perennial herb, usually 4-6' tall, with sunflower-like heads up to 4" across and unique leaves that form a "cup" that holds rainwater, hence its common name. Used in wetland and prairie restorations. It has also been used for shoreline, buffer and vegetated swale and stabilization. It is also an ideal plant for the background of rain water gardens.

USDA symbol: SIPE2

General Information

Plant TypeForb
Height8 to 10 feet
Light ExposureSun
Soil MoistureDry
Bloom ColorYellow
Cup Plant (Cup Plant<div><em class="small">Silphium perfoliatum</em></div>)
Photo credit: Minnesota Native Landscapes (Click to enlarge)


Flooding / Inundation ToleranceModerate
General Resilience10
Salt ToleranceMedium
Stress ToleranceGeneral Disturbance

Pollinator Value: Very High

Bloom MonthsJuly to September
Larval Host ofMoths
Specific Pollinators HostedEucosma giganteana, Papaipema silphii, Tabenna silphiella
Pollinator BenefitInsect Pollinated, Provides Nectar, Stem Nesting, Supports Generalists

Project Planning

Project TypeBoulevard, Erosion Control, Rain Garden, Restoration, Sandy or Engineered Soils, Upland Buffer
Coefficient of Conservatism5
Herbivore SensitivityLow
Rate of SpreadSlow
Soil StabilizationShallow
Vegetative ReproductionClonal


CountyAnoka, Big Stone, Blue Earth, Brown, Carver, Cottonwood, Dakota, Dodge, Faribault, Fillmore, Freeborn, Goodhue, Hennepin, Houston, Jackson, Kandiyohi, Lac qui Parle, Le Sueur, Lincoln, Lyon, Martin, Meeker, Mower, Murray, Nicollet, Nobles, Olmsted, Pine, Pipestone, Ramsey, Redwood, Rice, Rock, Scott, Sherburne, Sibley, Stevens, Swift, Wabasha, Waseca, Washington, Watonwan, Winona, Wright, Yellow Medicine
EcoregionDriftless Area, Lake Agassiz Plain, North Central Hardwood Forests, Northern Glaciated Plains, Northern Lakes and Forests, Western Cornbelt Plains
Approximate Eco ProvinceEastern Broadleaf Forest, Laurentian Mixed Forest, Prairie Parkland, Tallgrass Aspen Parklands