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A day before my tenth grade formal in high school, my mom and I visited a mall in China. As I wandered around the mall, I noticed a small shop that made these colorful flower-shaped teacups. I remember my mom commenting on how cute the cups were, but I didn’t pay much attention to the shop. I had actually decided to skip the meal for my formal and save the money for the cute teacups.and eventually develop to become thin brown achenes with a marginal wing utilized for wind dispersal. Insect pollinators including bees, butterflies, and skippers help to cross-fertilize flowers to produce seeds. 20 to 30 seeds are created in each flower head. Each seed is about 9 to 15 mm long, 6–9 mm wide, flattened in shape, with a thickness of 1 mm.
S. perfoliatum is sold by a good number of native plant nurseries and some specialty nurseries in the US and Canada; rarely in conventional nurseries. It is often used in prairie and native meadow restorations and in native, naturalistic landscapes and gardens; only infrequently in conventional landscapes and gardens by landscape designers and architects that know of it as a unique looking perennial. A large patch was planted at Millennium Park in Chicago, Illinois, near the Lurie Garden, in 2010. In gardening and landscaping it is best used in groups and not individually, as it is so vertical and the flower stalks are more likely to fall over when grown singularly.10 to 30 stalked flowers at the tip of the branching stems and arising from upper leaf axils. Flowers are 2½ to 3½ inches across with 17 to 35 yellow petals (ray flowers) that are fertile and have a split style protruding from the short tube at the base.
Bracts are in 2 or 3 layers, the outer bracts broadly egg-shaped with pointed, flaring tips, the inner bracts smaller and subtending the ray flowers. Flower stalks and bracts are smooth to rough.As the specific epithet "perfoliatum" suggests, each pair of leaves clasp the stem, making it look like the stem has pierced through them. The leaves themselves form a small basin that allows rain water to collect in tiny pools around the stem, hence the cup comparison. It has been suggested that this may be a primitive form of carnivorous behavior in the plant world. Certainly, one can see how this would set the stage for more specialization in that niche but, at least currently there has been no evidence of the plant gaining any nutritional benefit from the insects that may have drowned in there. It is more likely that this anatomical feature is a way of deterring potential flower predators from crawling up the stem in search of a meal. Indeed, for insects, these pools can form a considerable barrier against vertical movement. (Source: www.prairiemoon.com)