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Bonset Eupatorium perfoliatum

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

Boneset is a large herbaceous, clump-forming rhizomatous perennial herb in the aster (Asteraceae) family that is native to the eastern USA and Canada and as far west as TX, NB and the Dakotas. It can be found in various kinds of wetlands, including marshes, bogs, fens, seeps, edges of rivers, sandy flats and ditches. The plant will grow 4-6 feet tall with a 2-4 foot spread and can form colonies.

The Latin name, Eupatorium, is derived from Eupator, a 1st century BCE king of Pontus, famed for his herbal skills. The species name, perfoliatum, means "through the leaf" since the stem seems to grow through the paired leaves.

Boneset has 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 with plenty of organic matter.  It will tolerate short-term occasional flooding. 

Use this plant in the native pollinator garden and wetland areas such as ponds, streams, marshes or rain and water gardens.

This plant was selected as the 2003 NC Wildflower of the Year, a program managed by the North Carolina Botanical Garden with some financial support from the Garden Club of North Carolina.

Diseases, Insects, and Other Plant Problems: No serious insect or disease problems. Foliage may scorch if soils are allowed to dry out.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Native Woodland Garden, Durham
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#poisonous#water garden#fall flowers#white flowers#native perennials#native shrub#NC native#summer flowers#native garden#pollinator plant#native wildflower#food source fall#NC Native Pollinator Plant#food source herbage#food source nectar#food source pollen#Coastal FACW#Piedmont Mountains FACW#wet soils tolerant#food source hard mast fruit#butterfly friendly#Audubon#NC Wildflower of the Year#perennial#collier preserve tn
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#poisonous#water garden#fall flowers#white flowers#native perennials#native shrub#NC native#summer flowers#native garden#pollinator plant#native wildflower#food source fall#NC Native Pollinator Plant#food source herbage#food source nectar#food source pollen#Coastal FACW#Piedmont Mountains FACW#wet soils tolerant#food source hard mast fruit#butterfly friendly#Audubon#NC Wildflower of the Year#perennial#collier preserve tn
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Eupatorium
    Species:
    perfoliatum
    Family:
    Asteraceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    Historically used in herbal medicine for the treatment of cases of flu, fevers, colds, and a variety of other maladies.
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Division
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Eastern and central USA and Canada
    Distribution:
    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 Canada: MB , NB , NS , ON , PE , QC
    Fire Risk Rating:
    low flammability
    Wildlife Value:
    Attracts butterflies and bees. Various moths use this plant as a host. Some birds will eat the seeds
    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:
    Herbaceous Perennial
    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:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasional Flooding
    Occasionally Wet
    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, 9a, 9b
  • Fruit:
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Fruit Type:
    Achene
    Fruit Description:
    Achenes have small tufts of hair for wind dispersal. 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:
    Star
    Tubular
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    Tiny fragrant white tubular disc florets occur in clusters of 10-20. Numerous small clusters form larger clusters that are 2-8 inches across and occur at the tops of the stems and upper leaf axils. Each floret has 5 spreading petal-like lobes and a long 2-parted, thin style. The bracts at the base of the flowers are light green with some white at the tips. They are in 1-2 layers and are oblong, hairy and gland-dotted. Bloom time is July to Sept.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Rough
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Opposite
    Leaf Shape:
    Lanceolate
    Leaf Margin:
    Serrate
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    The yellow-green leaves have a wrinkled look, are finely toothed, and their bases join to surround the stem. Lower leaves are larger, up to 8 inches long and 2 inches wide. Veins are conspicuous and undersides are hairy. Upper leaves are smaller 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
    Pond
    Riparian
    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:
    It causes vomiting and has a laxative effect laxative in large doses. May cause dermatitis. Potential for liver damage if used long-term. Drying the plant parts helps to decrease toxins.
    Poison Toxic Principle:
    pyrrolizidine alkaloids
    Causes Contact Dermatitis:
    Yes
    Poison Part:
    Flowers
    Leaves
    Seeds
    Stems