This week’s Wildflower Wednesday feature flower is the Cup Plant.
The Cup plant is a sunflower-like plant that grows 4-8 feet tall and blooms in late July – September. It is Native to Wisconsin but is found mostly in the southern and western part of the state.
The name refers to its leaves that fuse around the stem forming a cup. These cups can hold water for days and are a water source for many insects and birds.
The stem produces a gummy sap which was used by Native Americans as chewing gum and to prevent nausea and vomiting. The extract from the leaves has shown to lower cholesterol and triglycerides levels in blood.
Studies have shown the Cup plant to be a sustainable biomass plant and a potential food source for cattle. In Germany it being used for biomass production because of its ecological benefits, which include the reduced need for herbicides, pesticides, or fertilizers, its ability to reseeds itself without the use of machinery and its ability to improve soil quality and protect from erosion.