Audubon® Prairie Dock Tree
Audubon® Prairie Dock Leaf
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Audubon® Prairie Dock Additional Product Shot 2372
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Audubon® Prairie Dock Tree
Audubon® Prairie Dock Leaf
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Audubon® Prairie Dock Additional Product Shot 2372
Audubon® Prairie Dock Additional Product Shot 2486
Audubon® Prairie Dock Additional Product Shot 2930

Growth Facts

Audubon® Prairie Dock

Silphium terebinthinaceum
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What a drama queen! Prairie Dock bursts out of the ground in spring, quickly making a mound of huge foliage. The leaves may be 18 inches long and a foot wide! In summer, smooth, leafless stems shoot up to a height of 10 feet or more and are topped by a bevy of sunny yellow Daisy-like flowers. You’ll want a first-row seat to the extravaganza, and so will the birds and butterflies. Monarchs and Swallowtails will come to sip the flowers’ nectar, as will Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds. In fall and winter, finches will arrive to sample the seeds.

May Benefit & Attract: Hummingbirds and finches.

Take Birds Under Your Wing

New! Introducing our bird-friendly collection of Audubon® Native Plants & Trees

  • Better for Birds, 100% Neonic-Free
  • Not Available in non-native regions, states or counties (see Native Regions map)

Bower & Branch is proud to grow Audubon® Native Plants for Birds in partnership with the National Audubon Society to help birds and other wildlife thrive.

  • The National Audubon Society protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow
  • This bird-friendly native plant provides food and shelter for local and migrating birds and other wildlife
  • Your purchase and planting of this native flora directly supports Audubon’s conservation mission and impact
  • Learn how you can help birds in your home and community through Audubon’s Plants for Birds program
  • Audubon Native Plants & Trees are free of neonicotinoids and exclusively grown by Bower & Branch

Audubon® is a licensed and registered trademark of the National Audubon Society. All rights reserved.

Growth Facts

Recommended by Our Growers

The Story

Prairie Dock is native to the Midwest and was once abundant from Wisconsin to Arkansas; it also grew in scattered places throughout the Southeast. The majestic tallgrass prairies where it grew are mostly gone now, plowed under or paved over. Prairie Dock was an especially long-lived member of those communities. It can live 100 years. A long, thick taproot allows the plant to withstand drought, grazing, strong winds, and fire, so it often would outlast its neighbors. Like its cousin, the Compass Plant, Prairie Dock is also special in its ability to orient its foliage for maximum photosynthesis. The leaves normally point north and south.

The Details

Another name for Prairie Dock is Rosin Weed, for the sticky substance found inside the stems. Native American kids used to scrape off this rosin and use it as chewing gum. You can try it, too—just don’t expect it to taste like Juicy Fruit! (It tastes more like Pine Tree.)

How to Grow

Prairie Dock prefers deep, loamy soil that never gets extremely wet or extremely dry. It wants full sun. In excessively windy or wet years, this lofty grower may lean or even lodge (topple over). You can stake it if you feel a need to, but be sure to use very sturdy poles, as the stems become weighty on mature plants. (Maturity may take several years; Prairie Dock is a slow grower that spends some time putting down a deep taproot.) Maintenance is otherwise simple. Leave the seeds for winter-resident birds, then cut the whole plant down in early spring.

Size Guide

Size Guide Scale

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Audubon® Prairie Dock Tree
Audubon® Prairie Dock Leaf
Audubon® Prairie Dock Additional Product Shot 2372
Audubon® Prairie Dock Additional Product Shot 2486
Audubon® Prairie Dock Additional Product Shot 2930