Native Plants Series: Boneset

Boneset (Eupatorium perfoliatum) is native throughout most of the Eastern half of North America. It blooms in white umbel-shaped flower clusters (similar to yarrow) in July through September. It is commonly found along streams and low-lying woods and meadows. It therefore prefers medium to wet soils, growing in full sun to part shade conditions. It will grow in both clay and sandy soils and is a perfect plant for a rain garden. It can get quite large, 4-6' tall. If planted in rich soils, it is likely to flop.


Boneset has easily accessible nectar, making it a large draw for pollinators. Here in South Central PA, Eupatorium species are host plants for at least 35 species of moth and butterfly caterpillars. The seedheads attract birds, and it is deer resistant.


This plant has been historically used as a medicinal. Some say the name comes from its use in healing bones, some say from its use as a treatment of an 18th century influenza called break bone fever.


Sources: USDA, National Wildlife Federation, Missouri Botanical Garden, Prairie Moon Nursery

📷: byrev on Pixabay

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