Prairie Dock

Featured Photo Credit: Dominicus Johannes Bergsma, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Magnificent Silphium genus, it displays its bright yellow flowers on tall stems in late summer. Grows easily from seed, and is at home on a wide variety of soils, from moderately dry to moist. Excellent for tough clay soils. Birds love the seeds.

Quick Growing Guide

Botanical Name: Silphium terebinthinaceum

Botanical Family: Asteraceae

Also Called: Prairie Rosinweed

En français: Silphium



Sun / Shade:

Water: Has a tap root, so it can survice droughts


Hardiness Zones:

Why it’s name?

Silphium refers to a resin-producing shrub native to Greece. Terebinthinaceum means “turpentine-like,” referring to the odour of the plant. Historically, resin was highly prized for a variety of purposes, including religious incense. Though prairie dock has been used in the past for various ailments, today the plant is considered toxic.

Where to Plant

In nature, find prairie dock in prairies (who is surprised?) and meadows. It has excellent height for the back of the border, prairies, cottage gardens, wildflower gardens, and native plant gardens. It grows slowly initially but is long-lived and resilient. Choose companion plants based on your garden theme, desired height and colour arrangements. Because it is pollinated by bees, Prairie Dock can also be part of a pollinator garden.

Growing from Seed

In late fall, plant seed 1/4 inch (6mm) deep in a seed bed for overwintering. The seeds will germinate in the spring. You may also plant and overwinter them in pots, but make sure the pots are covered with snow to protect the seeds from harsh winter conditions. When seedlings sprout in the spring, transplant them.

Caring for Prairie Dock

Silphium Terebinthinaceum is a low-maintenance, hardy plant that grows best on ordinary, medium, well-drained soils in full sun. It is a resileint plant, it tolerates poor soils and can withstand droughts because of its deep tap root.

Sources and References

Ontario Wildflowers

Related Posts

Recent Additions

  • Slender Blazing Star

    Slender Blazing Star

    Slender Blazing Star is an upright, clump-forming perennial with fluffy, purple flowers that bloom in late summer. It is best to plant it with slow-growing perennials or as a border plant, as it is a shorter, non-competitive plant. The long-blooming perennial Liatris, a slender blazing star or gayfeather, is native to eastern North America. It…

    Read more

  • Sansevieria (Snake) Plant Varieties

    Sansevieria (Snake) Plant Varieties

    Snake Plants are available in various shapes, colors, and sizes, so you are sure to find one that’s right for you. The following are a few Sansevieria varieties every Snake Plant lover should know about. You might want more information on the adaptability of sansevieria houseplant. Sansevieria trifasciata There are many cultivars of Sansevieria trifasciata,…

    Read more

  • False Solomon’s Seal

    False Solomon’s Seal

    False Solomon’s Seal boasts beautiful white blossoms, scarlet fruit, and fragrant petals. It is native throughout North America. It grows from 30 to 75 cm tall and has light green alternating leaves and a zigzagging stem with a flower head or cluster of fruit at its tip, depending on the season. You might be interested…

    Read more