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Boneset Eupatorium perfoliatum

Phonetic Spelling
yoo-puh-TOR-ee-um per-foh-lee-AH-tum
This plant has low severity poison characteristics.
See below
Description

Eupatorium perfoliatum, or Boneset, is a large herbaceous, clump-forming, perennial shrub with small white flowers that appear in late summer and fall. The plant grows well in average, medium to wet soils with a consistent water source. It prefers full sun or part shade and tolerates both sandy and clay soils. The soil should contain considerable organic material so that it can retain moisture. This plant can withstand flooded conditions for short periods of time, but it is not really aquatic. The root system produces rhizomes in abundance and Boneset typically forms vegetative colonies.

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. 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.

Diseases, Insects, and Other Plant Problems:

No serious insect or disease problems. Foliage may scorch if soils are allowed to dry out, but appears to be little bothered by pests and disease.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#white#water garden#fall flowers#perennial#white flowers#toxic#native perennial#native shrub#wet sites#NC native#summer flowers#native garden#native wildflower#food source fall#NC Native Pollinator Plant#food source herbage#food source nectar#food source pollen#Coastal FACW#Piedmont Mountains FACW#food source hard-mast fruit#butterfly friendly#audubon
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#white#water garden#fall flowers#perennial#white flowers#toxic#native perennial#native shrub#wet sites#NC native#summer flowers#native garden#native wildflower#food source fall#NC Native Pollinator Plant#food source herbage#food source nectar#food source pollen#Coastal FACW#Piedmont Mountains FACW#food source hard-mast fruit#butterfly friendly#audubon
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Eupatorium
    Species:
    perfoliatum
    Family:
    Asteraceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    Dried flowers. Used in herbal medicine
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Division
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Southeastern United States
    Distribution:
    Native to the South Eastern United States
    Fire Risk Rating:
    low flammability
    Wildlife Value:
    Attracts butterflies. Pollen attracts bees.
    Edibility:
    Toxic and bitter
    Dimensions:
    Height: 4 ft. 0 in. - 6 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 3 ft. 0 in. - 4 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Native Plant
    Wildflower
    Habit/Form:
    Clumping
    Erect
    Maintenance:
    Low
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    High Organic Matter
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil Drainage:
    Frequent Standing Water
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasional Flooding
    Available Space To Plant:
    12 inches-3 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    3a, 3b, 4a, 4b, 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b
  • Fruit:
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Fruit Type:
    Achene
    Fruit Description:
    The florets are replaced by achenes with small tufts of hair – they are dispersed by the wind. Fruit displays from September to November.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Corymb
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Fragrant
    Good Cut
    Good Dried
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Fall
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Tubular
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    Flat-topped cluster of 10-20 small, tubular, white flowers. Blooms from August to October. The upper stems terminate in clusters of flowerheads, spanning about 2 to 8 inches across. Each flowerhead is about 1/6 inch across and consists of about 15 disk florets. Each disk floret has 5 spreading lobes and a long divided style, in the manner of other Eupatorium spp. The blooming period typically lasts about 1 to 2 months for a colony of plants. There is a pleasant floral scent.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Opposite
    Leaf Shape:
    Lanceolate
    Leaf Margin:
    Serrate
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Pairs of wrinkled, lance-shaped, finely toothed leaves are joined together at the base. Perfoliate foliage is quite distinctive: the bases of the pairs of medium green leaves unite to surround the hairy stems (perfoliatum meaning through the foliage). The leaves are up to 8 inches long and 2 inches across, and light or yellowish green. Their bases surround the central stem and merge together (perfoliate). There is a conspicuous network of veins, particularly on the lower leaf surface. This lower surface is also pubescent. Some of the upper leaves near the inflorescence(s) are much smaller in size and sessile.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Surface:
    Hairy (pubescent)
    Stem Description:
    The central stem and side stems are covered with long white hairs.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Meadow
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Native Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Rain Garden
    Water Garden
    Design Feature:
    Border
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Butterflies
    Pollinators
    Songbirds
  • Poisonous to Humans:
    Poison Severity:
    Low
    Poison Symptoms:
    Sensitization may occur. Increase sweating and diarrhoea have been reported. May cause dermatitis. Some herbalists suggest it should not be used with a high fever in excess of 102F. Also suggest to not use boneset for more than 6 months. As potentially toxic should not be used during breast feeding. E. perfoliatum and several of its related species are listed on the Poisonous Plants Database of the US Food and Drug Administration, with E. perfoliatum described as an "unapproved homeopathic medicine" with unknown safety by the US National Library of Medicine.
    Poison Toxic Principle:
    The plant should be used with some caution since large doses are laxative and emetic.
    Causes Contact Dermatitis:
    Yes
    Poison Part:
    Flowers
    Leaves
    Seeds
    Stems