Eutrochium maculatum (Spotted Joe-pye Weed)

Plant Info
Also known as: Purple Boneset, Spotted Trumpetweed
Genus:Eutrochium
Family:Asteraceae (Aster)
Life cycle:perennial
Origin:native
Habitat:sun; moist soil, along shores
Bloom season:July - September
Plant height:2 to 10 feet
Wetland Indicator Status:GP: OBL MW: OBL NCNE: OBL
MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):Minnesota county distribution map
National distribution (click map to enlarge):National distribution map

Pick an image for a larger view. See the glossary for icon descriptions.

Detailed Information

Flower: Flower shape: indistinct Cluster type: flat

[photo of flowers] Flat clusters 3 to 5 inches across made up of dozens to hundreds of pink to purplish flower heads. A head is made up of 8 to 20 petal-less disk flowers, each with 2 long stringy styles and 5 tiny lobes. The bracts are usually purplish and in 2 layers, the outer ones often hairy.

Leaves: Leaf attachment: whorl Leaf type: simple

[photo of leaves] Leaves are whorled in groups of 3 to 6, usually 4 or 5. Leaves are up to 9 inches long and to 2 inches wide, coarsely toothed and pointed on both ends with very short stalks and variously hairy.

[photo of spotted stem] Stems are usually green or purplish with purple spots (hence the common name) or sometimes solid purple, and also variously hairy.

Fruit: Fruit type: seed with plume

[photo of fruit] The flower heads turn into a mass of brown seed, each with a tuft of light brown hair to carry them off in the wind.

[photo of seed] Seeds are slender, 3 to 4 millimeters long, 5-sided with distinct ridges on the angles.

Notes:

A very similar species is Sweet Joe Pye Weed (Eutrochium purpureum), which does not have spotted stems, but does typically have deep purple tinging at the leaf nodes and flower stalk nodes. Both are related to Boneset. Spotted Joe Pye weed is listed in many field guides as Eupatoriadelphus maculatus or Eupatorium maculatum, but the accepted name in Minnesota is Eutrochium maculatum. There are 3 varieties of E. maculatum in Minnesota. Var. bruneri is the most densely hairy and about as common as var. maculatum, which is more typically hairless on the lower stem. Var. foliosum, only known to be in Cook County, is much like var. maculatum except the leaves whorled at the base of a flower cluster are up to 8 inches long, spreading out wider than the flower cluster, where those of var. maculatum are only about 1 inch long.

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More photos

Photos by K. Chayka taken at Long Lake Regional Park, Ramsey County. Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken in Anoka and Aitkin counties.

Comments

Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?

Posted by: Alison - St. Paul, MN
on: 2010-07-07 11:42:56

This plant can be found at Lilydale Regional Park in Saint Paul, MN.

Posted by: Kinzi
on: 2010-08-18 17:10:44

I found the plant in Wisconsin just last weekend (8/14/20010), but I thought that, regardless of location, it would be nice to add that its scent is potent and beautiful - almost reminiscent of a lilac.

Posted by: Sally - Pelican Rapids
on: 2011-07-15 16:16:15

A Joe Pye plant appeared this summer on the edge of my rain garden overlooking Fish Lake, north of Pelican Rapids.

Posted by: Pat - Pillager
on: 2011-09-05 20:46:50

There are huge fields of Joe Pye up here near Brainerd in full bloom now. They like wet ground.

Posted by: Trevor - Excelsior,Carver county
on: 2014-07-20 17:20:29

Removed a quarter acre of buckthorn a year ago and this year have found a dozen or so Joe Pye plants growing, quite delighted. Butterflies, dragonflies and hummingbirds love them.

Posted by: Robert - Burnsville
on: 2016-08-06 18:55:52

Letting part of our yard grow wild. Would like to know which is invasive and which is native so I can get rid of the invasive species.

Posted by: K. Chayka
on: 2016-08-06 20:01:24

Robert, use the advanced plant search to figure out what you have in your yard. Don't fill in every field, just what you know for certain.

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