Joe-Pye weed

The bloom of Joe-Pye Weed (Eupatorium purpureum) is very evident throughout Frederick County this summer. This tall growing, perennial plant normally blooms in late summer throughout much of its range which includes most of the Eastern half of America and Southern Canada. Joe-Pye weed is usually found in moist areas around meadows and stream borders. Joe-Pye weed was named after a Native American who used this plant as a cure for typhus and other fevers.

Joe-Pye weed, growing near Wolfsville

Photo by Ginny Brace

Besides meadows and stream borders, Joe-Pye weed can be seen in wetlands, swamps, bogs, swales, ditches and along roadsides. Wind helps spread its seeds.

Its blooms are mauve-pink, and it likes full sun to part shade conditions. In wet areas and rain gardens, Joe-Pye weed is a low-maintenance plant. It tolerates clay soil as well as wet soil, and also is rarely eaten by deer. These attractive flowers give way to attractive seed heads which persist well into winter. It needs lots of space, but can be spectacular in a mass. It is in the aster family.

The Joe-Pye weed plant has a number of medicinal uses, especially the roots, which are dried and ground, then made into herbs and teas. The foliage of Joe-Pye weed (Also called purple boneset) can be burned to ward off mosquitoes. Joe-Pye weed is a very common ornamental, and it is a good flower to plant if you wish to attract butterflies.

Article by Ginny Brace, FCFCDB member

Nature Note for 8/17/14