- any of various plants having leaves that tend to lie in a plane at right angles to the strongest light, hence usually north and south, especially Silphium laciniatum.
Origin of compass plant
First recorded in 1840–50
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for compass plant
Look for the compass-plant, if you have the command of prairies.
The compass-plant, or rosin-weed, as it is commonly called, is the Silphium laciniatum of the botanists.The Ranche on the Oxhide
- Also called: rosinweed a tall plant, Silphium laciniatum, of central North America, that has yellow flowers and lower leaves that tend to align themselves at right angles to the strongest light, esp in a north-south plane: family Asteraceae (composites)
- any of several similar plants
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012