Free shipping on ALL plant orders!

Eupatorium perfoliatum

common boneset add to wishlist

Plant types and subtypes: SALE, Perennials, Plugs

Light Requirements: sun, part-sun

Water Use: medium

Soil Moisture: moist, wet

Soil Description: acid, neutral, rich, average, loam, clay, sand

Height: 2'-5'

Bloom Time: August, September, October

Bloom Color: white

Leaf Color: green

Hardiness Zone: 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

Additional Tags: attracts bees, attracts butterflies, clumping, colonizing, cottage garden plant, cut flowers, deer resistant, fall interest, fragrant flowers, medicinal, naturalizing, stream margin plant

 Eupatorium perfoliatum (common boneset)
  •  Eupatorium perfoliatum (common boneset)
  •  Eupatorium perfoliatum (common boneset)
  •  Eupatorium perfoliatum (common boneset)
  •  Eupatorium perfoliatum (common boneset)

Pricing & Availability

x

Some plants might not be available to you due to quarantine restrictions, or nursery limitations.

To make it easier for you to buy locally, we will sort the available nurseries based on their distance to your garden.

Description

Eupatorium perfoliatum

Also known as:

common boneset

,

American boneset

,

thoroughwort

Scientific Synonyms:

Description

Eupatorium perfoliatum is a large, clumping, perennial wildflower, closely related to Joe-Pye-weeds. It can grow up to 6' tall. Single, hairy, erect stems emerge from the base. The lance-shaped leaves are opposite and connected at the base, giving the impression that they are perforated by the stem, hence the specific epithet "perfoliatum". The tall stems divide terminally to bear large, fluffy, flat-topped clusters of fragrant, small white flowers. These give way to small seeds with hair-like bristles that are easily dispersed by the wind.

Cultivation

Common boneset is native to moist lowlands and meadows, flood plains and occasionally to wetlands. It prefers soil rich in organic matter that remains consistently moist and adapts well to average garden conditions. It will tolerate light shade but does best in full to part-sun. Mature specimens will slowly spread by means of rhizomes to form large clumps and small colonies. It will also spread from seed, but not aggressively so and is considered well-behaved and low maintenance. It will provide a visually stunning background in any moist, cottage garden or perennial flower bed. The blooming period is long, extending for up to two months for a given colony, and occurs from late summer through fall. Very cold hardy: zones 3-8

Propagation

Propagate from seed. Germination of stored seeds will be facilitated by a 3 week period of cold stratification. Mature clumps can be divided in early spring or late fall. Early summer soft wood cuttings may also be successful.

Additional Notes

Eupatorium perfoliatum should not be confused with Ageratina altissima (white snakeroot, tall boneset), that has a similar appearance and blooming period, but is more more shade-tolerant and aggressive. The former can be easily be distinguished by its leathery, perfoliate leaves and fragrant flowers.

The first references to Eupatorium date back to the mid 1700s, an apparent reference Mithridates Eupator (132–63 BC), king of Pontus (in present day Turkey). The short version of the reference is that the dude’s father was assassinated by poisoning, so the young king-to-be set out to develop an immunity to poisons by ingesting a bunch of stuff nobody in their right mind should put in their mouth. Species within the genus can be found throughout the northern hemisphere and have long been known for their medicinal values and/or their toxic properties at high doses. So there you have it. More recently, the genus has been split, with the largest group now falling under the Eutrochium genus (Joe-Pye weed).

The specific epithet, perfoliatum, is a reference to the species perfoliate leaves, which is the botanical definition of a leaf that is clasped around the stem and gives the appearance of being perforated by it.

The origins of the common name, boneset, are rather vague and often disputed:

“Historically, boneset was commonly included in medical herb gardens and used as a folk medicine. 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 plant's 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. Also commonly called thoroughwort.” -- Missouri Botanical Garden

Native Range & Classification

Recorded County Distribution: USDA data

Native Range:
AL, AR, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, IA, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, NC, ND, NE, NH, NJ, NY, OH, OK, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, VA, VT, WI, WV

Classification

Kingdom Plantae Plants
Subkingdom Tracheobionta Vascular plants
Superdivision Spermatophyta Seed plants
Division Magnoliophyta Flowering plants
Class Magnoliopsida Dicotyledons
Subclass Asteridae
Order Asterales
Family Asteraceae Aster family
Genus Eupatorium thoroughwort
Species Eupatorium perfoliatum common boneset