Wild Flowers of Pittsburgh

Elecampane (Inula helenium)

Elecampane is a tall and striking flower, imported from Europe. It is not particularly common around here, but abundant where it does take up residence. These plants were blooming in Highland Park in late July.

Gray describes the genus and the species:

ÍNULA L. ELECAMPANE. Heads many-flowered, radiate; disk-flowers perfect and fertile. Involucre Imbricated, hemispherical, the outer bracts herbaceous or leaf-like. Receptacle naked. Anthers caudate. Achenes more or less 4-5-ribbed; pappus simple, of capillary bristles. — Coarse herbs, not floccose-woolly, with alternate simple leaves, and large yellow heads. (The ancient Latin name.)

I. Helènium L. (ELECAMPANE.) Stout perennial, 1-1.6 m. high; leaves large, woolly beneath; those from the thick root ovate, petioled, the others partly clasping; rays very many, narrow. — Roadsides and damp pastures. Aug. — Heads very large. Root mucilaginous. (Nat. from Eu.)

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