On some winter days when the sky and landscape are achromatic, I find the garden at its best. Everything is latent; there is an undertow to the garden, and I sense that below my feet is the whole of summer.
As February comes to a close, the promise of spring is even sweeter. With March just around the corner and the light of day lingering longer, I can almost see my garden start to bloom. This is the year of study in my garden and I am observing the gardens, the critters and profiling some of my favorite plants especially the native ones. For these native plant profiles, I am linking in with Gail@Clay and Limestone for her Wildflower Wednesday meme.
I am also joining forces with a local native plant nursery I really like, Amanda’s Garden, to purchase plants for my gardens, like the one I profiled in this post. The owner, Ellen Folts, specializes in woodland, prairie and wetland native perennials. To get all the latest goings on at the nursery, like Amanda’s Garden Native Perennial Nursery page on Facebook.
This time I am again profiling a late blooming native, Common Boneset or Eupatorium perfoliatum part of the Aster family (Asteraceae). I planted one plant 2 years ago and it grew quickly and flowered. I divided the first plant, and had a second plant grow this year. Pretty good for a new perennial.
Boneset has tiny, fragrant white flowers in fuzzy clusters at the top of 3-6 ft. hairy stems. The dark green pairs of leaves curl from the stems. Also known as Thoroughwort, this plant is closely related to Joe-Pye weed (Eupatorium purpureum).
Boneset blooms in late summer to early fall for about 1-2 months. It easily forms colonies if planted in sun to part sun and wet to moist conditions. The root system produces many rhizomes that can be divided. As it can withstand flooded areas for short periods, I may need to consider planting this in the back areas and rain gardens.
The plant has few pests or disease issues and even likes sandy or clay soil as long as it is moist. Propagation from divisions and cuttings in spring and fall is more successful than sowing seed. To promote bushier growth, cut back the plant in early spring as it grows.
Benefits to Wildlife
Many moth species use Boneset as a host plant, but butterflies do not. However, it is a nectar source for butterflies in late summer to early fall.
The flowers attract many kinds of insects: bees, flies, wasps and beetles. Many unusual flies and wasps frequent the flowers because it provides easy access to the nectar. The small seeds do not attract many, if any birds, although I will have to watch in the future to see if any of the birds eat the seed. Also deer, rabbits and other mammals do not seem to eat these plants.
Where Are They Found
Boneset is a commonly found throughout the Eastern United States and Canada, from Nova Scotia to Florida, and Louisiana/Texas through North Dakota.
Habitats include meadows, pond edges, moist shade, edges of swamps, flooded forest openings, marshes, bogs and roadside ditches.
Eupatorium perfoliatum is still used in herbal medicine for fever and colds by drying leaves and making them into a tea. Some studies show the plant has possible anti-inflammatory effects and has been used to treat gout.
Boneset is said to be one of the best herbal remedies for flu, but caution is advised when using it since it can be poisonous to humans and livestock.
Folklore and Tales
Boneset was one of the most widely used plants for medicinal purposes especially in the 19th century. At one point it was included in most medical herb gardens to use in folk medicine. Once aspirin came into use, boneset was no longer used for home remedies.
Native tribes called it “feverwort” or “sweating-plant”, and introduced it to American colonists as a way to break fevers.
The look of the leaves growing around the stem led to an old superstition that the plant could help mend broken bones like bandages wrapped around splints. The common name Boneset apparently comes from the plant’s use in treating an 18th century influenza called ‘break bone fever’.
In the Language of Flowers, Boneset is said to stand for gratitude. I am sure many were and still are grateful for this important medical plant.
Do you grow this plant or have you seen it in the wild? Do you plan to plant any unusual native plants this year?
to inspire positive community unity and beautiful art instead of displaying hate or negativity in our urban neighborhoods.
Shawna Coronado is a well known author and blogger whose special project, The Graffiti Experiment, is an amazing story. I contributed to Shawna’s efforts and she is sharing the love by posting about those who are supporting her efforts. I was honored that she has featured my blog this month. I hope you will go visit her blog and be as inspired as I have been.
“You don’t have a garden just for yourself. You have it to share.” ~Augusta Carter
Seasonal Celebrations is a time for marking the change of seasons and what is happening in your part of the world during this time. I hope you will join in by creating a post telling us how you celebrate this time of year whether winter or summer or something else. Share your traditions, holidays, gardens and celebrations in pictures, poetry or words starting March 1st.
And it seems so appropriate to collaborate with Beth and her Lessons Learned meme. What lessons have you learned this past season of autumn here in the North and spring in the South. Then tell us about your wishes, desires and dreams for this new season.
The rules are simple. Just create a post that talks about lessons learned and/or seasonal celebrations. If you are joining in for both memes please leave a comment on both our blog posts. Or if you are choosing to join only one meme, leave a comment on that blog post. Make sure to include a link with your comment.
Beth and I will do a summary post of our respective memes on the equinox (around the 20th of March). And we will keep those posts linked on a page on our blog. Your post should be linked in the weekend before the solstice to give us enough time to include your post in our summary. And if you link in a bit late, never fear we will include it on the special blog page. The badges here can be used in your post. So won’t you join in the celebration!!
Next up on the blog: Saturday, please join me for my Seasonal Celebrations post. Monday will be time for another Gardens Eye Journal. What has been happening in my garden this February?
I am linking in with Michelle@Rambling Woods for her Nature Notes meme.
It is a great way to see what is happening in nature around the world every Wednesday.
I hope you will join me for my posts once a month at Beautiful Wildlife Garden. See my latest post.
As always, I’ll be joining Tootsie Time’s Fertilizer Friday.
I am also joining in I Heart Macro with Laura@Shine The Divine that happens every Saturday.
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