Ontario Weeds: Elecampane

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Excerpt from Publication 505, Ontario Weeds, Order this publication

Table of Contents

  1. Name
  2. Other Names
  3. Family
  4. General Description
  5. Stems and Roots
  6. Flowers and Fruit
  7. Habitat
  8. Similar Species
  9. Related Links

Name: Elecampane, Inula helenium L.,

Other Names: inule aunée, aunée

Family: Composite or Aster Family (Compositae

General Description: Perennial, reproducing only by seed.

Photos and Pictures


Elecampane. A. Basal rosette showing 1 leaf.
A. Basal rosette showing 1 leaf.
Elecampane. B. Top of flowering stem.
B. Top of flowering stem.

Stems & Roots: Stems erect, mostly without branches, 1-2m (3-6½ft) high, coarse, finely hairy; first leaves in a basal rosette with large broad blades as much as 50cm (20in.) long, by 20cm (8in.) wide, ovate, usually tapering towards both tip and base, undersurface velvety-hairy, margins finely and regularly toothed with somewhat leafy-winged stalks; stem leaves alternate (1 per node), similar to rosette leaves but smaller upwards on the stem, stalkless and clasping the stem.

Flowers & Fruit: Flower heads large, showy, coarse, 5-8cm (2-3½in.) across; ray florets many, yellow, thin, about 2cm (4/5in.) long; disk florets many, densely crowded, dark yellowish, forming a coarse rounded centre in the head; involucral bracts around the base of the head broad, stiff, light green and finely hairy. Flowers from July to August.

Habitat: Elecampane occurs in southern Ontario in meadows, moist pastures, river valleys, and roadsides.

Similar Species: It is distinguished by its rosette of large, ovate, finely toothed leaves with velvety-hairy undersurfaces, and tapering towards both ends, its tall erect stem with alternate leaves, the upper ones clasping the stem, and its large, coarse, showy, yellow flower heads. In the rosette stage, the large leaves of Elecampane may be confused with those of Horse-radish, Armoracia rusticana Gaertn., but in Horse-radish the leaves are smooth or both surfaces and the margins usually have rounded teeth. Also the stem leaves of Horse-radish do not clasp the stem, are narrower for their length, and may be deeply pinnately lobed.

Related Links

... on general Weed topics
... on weed identification, order OMAFRA Publication 505: Ontario Weeds
... on weed control, order OMAFRA Publication 75: Guide To Weed Control

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