WiseAcre Gardens

north of the adirondacks – wildflowers & perennials that survive winters colder than my wife's feet

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Posted by WiseAcre on Aug 31st, 2008

Roadside Wildflower – Elecampane

Aug 31

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Inula helenium – Elecampane


Although not uncommon Elecampane isn’t as easy to find as other wildflowers I’ve posted in the past. But it is easy to spot since it grows up to 8 feet tall and has large, up to 4 inch yellow flowers and grows in open meadows and some roadside ditches.  The leaves are also large and fuzzy on the underside.


My Peterson Field Guide to Edible Plants states that Elecampane is used as a flavoring for candy but doesn’t give a clue on how it tastes or how to make any. Thanks but no thanks. I think I’ll stick to my favorite – Reeses Peanut Butter Cups

Elecampane root tea is a folk remedy for a number of ailments including pneumonia, whooping cough, asthma and bronchitis. Moving to the digestive system the tea is used for upset stomach, diarthea and worms. From what I’ve read it was much safer than the old treatment of using santonin to expel worms which could kill you.

Another herbal use is to use as a wash to treat facial neuralgia (pain in the face) and sciatica (pain in the arse or lower back)


So I guess you can get rid of that pain in the arse by giving me a nice cup of elecampane tea.

Once again I’ve linked the images to a larger size one (1024 x 768) for a closer look and to use as desktop wallpaper / background.

2 Responses

  1. Aiyana Says:

    I’ve seen a lot of roadside flowers featured on blogs, and I have to say this is one of the prettiest ones yet. We occasionally see sunflowers in what we call bar ditches along the roadways, but most all our weeds are ugly as hell. Russian Thistle AKA tumbleweed and cheeseweed dominate these areas. Every once in a while, the responsible government agency comes along a sprays them, and then they are a pile of brown. Just awful.

    Well the plants can be pretty ratty looking if you look past the flowers. I loved to see tumbleweed when I was out west. They connected with childhood visions of the wild west and Wile E Coyote and the Road Runner 🙂 I hate it when the road crews mow down the old common orange day lilies here. They seem to time the mowing just when they’re in full bloom. One day there’s a huge drift of orange and the next a “lawn’.

  2. min hus Says:

    Cool plant! When I saw the first pic I thought it was some new variety of Rudbeckia or coneflower.

    I played too. 🙂

    min hus,
    Generally you thunk correctly. They are in the broader composite or daisy family along with your Irish Eyes Susans.