It’s July, and you know what that means: the DYC’s (darn yellow composites) are popping up everywhere. The spring ragworts were first out — way ahead of their look-alikes. But then came tickseeds, and now here are the rosinweeds. Right on their heels are the black-eyed Susans and sunflowers, plus too many more to name here. The thing about DYC’s is that distinguishing them from each other can be a challenge. But some are tougher than others.
Take this starry rosinweed — Silphium asteriscus. The give-away characteristic of rosinweeds is the broad, clasping bracts surrounding the flower head. If an aster-like flower has yellow rays and the bracts are flat and clasping like these, you’ve almost surely got your hands on a rosinweed.
There are numerous rosinweeds in our flora, some of them quite rare. They all have a stiff appearance and rough texture to leaves, stems, or both. This beautiful starry rosinweed is fairly common on roadsides and in grassy areas on and around the Domain. Apparently Silphiums’ sap was once believed to have medicinal properties. This hasn’t been borne out, but the name rosinweed has stuck!