0 - It is a prairie plant.
1 - It collects water around the stem where the oppsosing leaves are joined together.
2 - That water often hosts insects and spiders.
3 - That manner of the leaves being joined together and the stem coming through gives it the botanical name 'perfoliatum' - foliage is perforated. I love plants with botanical names that describe a characteristic.
4 - It is in the genus Silphium along with prairie dock, Silphium terebinthinaceum, and compass plant, Silphium laciniatum, two of my very favorite and very deep rooted prairie plants.
6 - It has a square stem that gets to be over an inch across.
7 - That stem persists over winter into spring and is cool to find during spring clean-up.
8 - Later in the summer, the plant will be topped with brilliant yellow sunflower type blossoms about 3" across.
9 - A seed head will follow that is loved by songbirds.
10 - It makes a great plant for the background of a perennial garden or one each side of a path to for columns of a grand entrance to a lawn or living space.
11 - All that makes them a great plant to show to kids. There will usually be some bugs but if not, the size will be impressive and the way the leaves and stem are shaped will fascinate.