• synonyms

compass plant

  1. 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.
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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

Historical Examples of compass plant

  • Look for the compass-plant, if you have the command of prairies.

    Harper's Young People, August 10, 1880


  • The compass-plant, or rosin-weed, as it is commonly called, is the Silphium laciniatum of the botanists.

British Dictionary definitions for compass plant

compass plant

  1. 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)
  2. any of several similar plants
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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