Elecampane. Inula helenium.
Botanical family, common family.

Plant: Sturdy, hairy or downy stems, to 6' with small groups of large, yellow, narrow-rayed, daisy-like flowers. Perennial.
Flowers: Yellow, daisy-like, 2"-4", with many (40-60) long, thin rays, surrounding a disk that is yellow changing to brown.
Leaves: Alternate, ovate to broadly ovate, finely toothed, and downy-whitish below. Often with fine wrinkles. Upper leaves clasp the stem. Basal leaves have long leafstalks (petiols), and may be up to 20" long.
Fruit: Dry, seed-like achene, with downy hairs attached in a star-like pattern.
Blooming: July-August
Habitat: Fields, roadsides, like wetter areas.

Comments: This plant was introduced to North America from Europe, but is likely originally from Asia. Goldfinches are attracted to the seeds. The specific name helenium refers to a story that the plant grew up where Helen of Troy's tears fell. The plant has a history as a medicinal herb, principally as a tonic. Recent tests have shown that some components have antiseptic properties.

Where to find it: On the north-west side of the pond near the paved path.