Common Boneset, Eupatorium  perfoliatum

Common Boneset

Eupatorium perfoliatum

Benefits:
Sun Shade:
Bloom Time: Late Summer/Early Fall
Zones: 3, 4, 5
Soil Conditions: Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil Moisture: Medium, Moist, Wet
Color: White
Fragrance: Yes
Height: 3 - 4 feet
Spacing: 1 foot


Description

Common Boneset (Eupatorium perfoliatum) or Thoroughwort is a large, hairy, clump-forming, perennial which typically occurs in wet soils in low woods, thickets, stream banks, meadows and prairies. Flat-topped clusters (compound corymbs) of small, fluffy, white flowers appear above the foliage in late summer to fall. Perfoliate foliage is quite distinctive: the bases of the pairs of wrinkled, opposite, lance-shaped, medium green leaves unite to surround the hairy stems.

The blooming period is late summer to early fall, which typically lasts about 1-2 months for a colony of plants. The florets are replaced by achenes with small tufts of hair that are dispersed by the wind. The root system is fibrous and produces rhizomes in abundance. Common Boneset typically forms vegetative colonies.

Habitats include openings in floodplain forests, poorly drained areas of black soil prairies, and various kinds of wetlands, including marshes, bogs, fens, seeps, edges of rivers, and sand flats along Lake Michigan. This plant also occurs in or near roadside ditches. Generally, it does not stray far from wetland areas of one kind or another.

Easily grown in average, medium to wet soils in full sun to part shade. Does well in both sandy and clay soils. Needs constant moisture. Habitats include openings in floodplain forests, poorly drained areas of black soil prairies, and various kinds of wetlands, including marshes, bogs, fens, seeps, edges of rivers, and sand flats along Lake Michigan. This plant also occurs in or near roadside ditches. Generally, it does not stray far from wetland areas of one kind or another.

Historically, boneset was commonly included in medical herb gardens and used as a folk medicine for treatment of flus, fevers, colds and a variety of other maladies. Though some authorities claim the name boneset refers to a former use of the plant to aid the healing process for broken bones, others claim that the name is in reference to the plants use as a diaphoretic in the treatment of an 18th century influenza called break bone fever. All parts of the plant are quite toxic and bitter.

Plant Notes and Herbal Uses
  Foliage may scorch if soils are allowed to dry out.
Further Information

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