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Eutrochium purpureum is often confused with:
Eutrochium fistulosum Plant
Eutrochium maculatum Eupatorium maculatum
Native alternative(s) for Eutrochium purpureum:
Asclepias incarnata Close up of flower
Plants that fill a similar niche:
Liatris spicata Form
Monarda didyma Flowers
Viola sororia Viola papilionacea

Queen of the Prairie Eutrochium purpureum

Previously known as:

  • Eupatoriadelphus purpureus
  • Eupatorium purpureum
Phonetic Spelling
yoo-TRO-kee-um pur-PUR-ee-um
Description

Joe-Pye Weed is an erect, clump-forming, native, herbaceous perennial of the Aster family that is known for its beautiful and fragrant flowers. Tiny, tubular-shaped, pinkish-to-purple blooms are arranged into a dome that measures up to 12 to 18 inches across. They have a vanilla scent and bloom from summer to early fall. The flowers of this plant attract butterflies and bees and are important for the production of honey. The leaves are lance-shaped and green with serrate margins. They are arranged in whorls of 3 to 4 along erect, green stems. The plant measures 5 to 7 feet tall and 2 to 4 feet wide.

Joe-Pye Weed is native to Southeast Canada and the Central and Eastern United States. This plant is mostly found along roadsides, moist prairies, thickets, woodland borders, shaded riverbanks, or on wooded slopes. 

The genus name, Eutrochium, is derived from two Greek words. Eu means "well." Troche means "wheel-like" and refers to the plants' whorled leaves. The specific epithet, purpureum, means purple and refers to the flower color. The Eutrochium genus has several species that are known as Joe-Pye Weed. The species are very similar and can be easily confused. This particular species is late-blooming and native to eastern and central North America.

The Joe-Pye Weed prefers full sun to partial shade and moist, well-drained to occasionally wet soils but is intolerant to dry soils. This plant may be propagated by seeds, stem cuttings, or division. It is best to divide the plant in the fall as it goes dormant. Stem cuttings may be taken in the late spring. Sow the seeds in the fall because they require 3 months of cold and moist stratification; however, actual germination is very low. The plant should be cut back at the end of the season. If cut back before early July, the plant will rebloom and have stocky and sturdier stems.

Consider this outstanding ornamental in a coastal garden, cottage garden, or pollinator garden. It will add interest if planted in garden borders, meadows, woodlands, and along ponds or streams. 

Quick ID Hints:

  • erect, clumping herbaceous perennial measuring from 5 to 7 feet tall and 2 to 4 feet wide
  • root system is shallow and fibrous
  • sturdy green stems with purple leaf nodes
  • leaves measure  6 inches long and 3.5 inches wide, up to 12 inches long, green, lance-shaped, serrated margins, arranged in whorls of 3 to 4 on the stem
  • tiny, vanilla-scented, pinkish-purple blooms that appear terminally in a domed inflorescence with 5 to 7 florets
  • seed heads persist into the winter and the achene is dispersed by the wind

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:  The Joe-Pye Weed is generally insect or disease free. Powdery mildew and rust can occur. If the soil becomes too dry, the leaves will appear scorched. The plants tend to get leggy and will fall over if they receive inadequate sunlight. 

VIDEO created by Andy Pulte for “Landscape Plant Identification, Taxonomy and Morphology” a plant identification course offered by the Department of Plant Sciences, University of Tennessee.

 

Profile Video:
See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Little Red'
    3-4 feet tall
'Little Red'
Tags:
#purple flowers#pink flowers#native perennials#low maintenance#NC native#deer resistant#herbaceous perennials#pollinator plant#native wildflower#wildflower garden#clumping#food source fall#NC Native Pollinator Plant#food source herbage#food source nectar#food source pollen#Coastal FAC#Piedmont Mountains FAC#wet soils tolerant#clay soils tolerant#food source hard mast fruit#butterfly friendly#bee friendly#Audubon#stormwater demo garden orange co#butterfly garden#landscape plant sleuths course#wildflower
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Little Red'
    3-4 feet tall
'Little Red'
Tags:
#purple flowers#pink flowers#native perennials#low maintenance#NC native#deer resistant#herbaceous perennials#pollinator plant#native wildflower#wildflower garden#clumping#food source fall#NC Native Pollinator Plant#food source herbage#food source nectar#food source pollen#Coastal FAC#Piedmont Mountains FAC#wet soils tolerant#clay soils tolerant#food source hard mast fruit#butterfly friendly#bee friendly#Audubon#stormwater demo garden orange co#butterfly garden#landscape plant sleuths course#wildflower
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Eutrochium
    Species:
    purpureum
    Family:
    Asteraceae
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Division
    Seed
    Stem Cutting
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Southeast Canada, North Central and Eastern United States
    Distribution:
    Native: United States-- AL, AR, CT, DE, FL, FA, IL IN, IA, KS, KY, LA MD, MA, MI, MN, MS, MO, NE, NH, NJ, NY, NC, OH, OK, PA, RI, SC, TN, VT, VA, WV, and WI; Canada--Ontario. Introduced: Norway and Switzerland
    Wildlife Value:
    The flowers attract butterflies, skippers, moths, and bees. Caterpillars feed on the leaves. The seed heads provide food for the birds.
    Play Value:
    Attractive Flowers
    Attracts Pollinators
    Colorful
    Fragrance
    Wildlife Food Source
    Wildlife Larval Host
    Dimensions:
    Height: 5 ft. 0 in. - 7 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 2 ft. 0 in. - 4 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Herbaceous Perennial
    Native Plant
    Perennial
    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
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Alkaline (>8.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasionally Wet
    Available Space To Plant:
    3 feet-6 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    4a, 4b, 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b
  • Fruit:
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Fruit Type:
    Achene
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    The fruit is a cypsela, but it is often referred to as achene. The achene is bullet-shaped and has a small tuft of hair. The fruits are displayed from August to November and are dispersed by the wind. The seeds are slender, five-sided, and measure 4 to 5 mm long.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Pink
    Purple/Lavender
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Corymb
    Head
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Fragrant
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Fall
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Tubular
    Flower Description:
    Each flower is tiny, tubular, dull pinkish-purple, and they are arranged in a large terminal dome flower head and composed of 5 to 7 florets. The domed flower head can measure 12 to 18 inches in diameter. They bloom from July to September
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Smooth
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Whorled
    Leaf Shape:
    Lanceolate
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Crenate
    Serrate
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    The leaves are green, lanceolate, and have serrated to crenate margins. Each leaf measures 6 inches long and 3.5 inches wide, but it may measure up to 12 inches long. The leaves are arranged in whorls of 3 or 4 along the stem. The leaves are dull green and smooth on the upper surface, but the lower surface is paler green and may be smooth to finely pubescent.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Green
    Purple/Lavender
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Form:
    Straight
    Stem Surface:
    Smooth (glabrous)
    Stem Description:
    The stems are erect, sturdy, smooth, and green with purple leaf nodes.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Coastal
    Meadow
    Naturalized Area
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Cottage Garden
    Native Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Rain Garden
    Design Feature:
    Border
    Mass Planting
    Small groups
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Butterflies
    Pollinators
    Songbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Wet Soil