Joe-Pye Weed: Wildflower Wednesday

– Posted in: Native/Invasive

Joe-Pye weed, Eupatorium fistulosum

Joe-Pye weed grows along the seasonal brook at the edge of our property

A brook borders the northern edge of our property, and several clumps of Joe-Pye weed (Eupatorium fistulosum) grow along the banks. I love the silvery mauve blossoms, which are large enough and tall enough to be seen across the chicken yard, a good seventy feet away.
Joe-Pye weed flower, Euaptorium fistulosum

The dusky mauve color complements the goldenrods also in bloom at this time

Allan Armitage, in his Native Plants for North American Gardens, says, “The combination of Joe-Pyes, goldenrod, and asters all flowering together gives fall color another meaning.” Armitage confirms what I’ve always maintained, that fall starts in mid-August here, though I have to admit that the asters are just starting, while the Joe-Pye weed and the goldenrod are at their peak. They do look swell together.

Three eupatoriums are fairly similar. I know my Joe-Pye weed is Eupatorium fistulosum because I cut one open and saw that it has hollow stems. The other two, E. purpureum and E. maculatum, both have solid pith, but E. maculatum has spots on the stems. According to William Cullina in Wildflowers: A Guide to Growing and Propagating Native Flowers of North America, “the names are used interchangeably in the trade, and there is some confusion about the identity of several selected cultivars. …[But] all make excellent garden plants.” However, the USDA says my Joe-Pye weed is actually Eupatoriadelphus fistulosus.

As you would expect from a native plant, the blossoms attract a variety of wildlife.

butterfly on joe-pye weed, Eupatorium fistulosum

A bumblebee and a moth share the wealth on Joe-Pye blossom. Do you know the name of the butterfly?

This butterfly posed for several shots, but I’m afraid I don’t know which one it is.

Posted for Wildflower Wednesday, created by Gail of Clay and Limestone, to share wildflowers/native plants no matter where you garden in the blogasphere. It doesn’t matter if we sometimes show the same plants. How they grow and thrive in your garden is what matters most. It’s always the fourth Wednesday of the month!

About the Author

Kathy Purdy is a colchicum evangelist, converting unsuspecting gardeners into colchicophiles. She would be delighted to speak to your group about colchicums or other gardening topics. Kathy’s been writing since 4th grade, gardening since high school, and blogging since 2002.

If winter is slumber and spring is birth, and summer is life, then autumn rounds out to be reflection. It’s a time of year when the leaves are down and the harvest is in and the perennials are gone. Mother Earth just closed up the drapes on another year and it’s time to reflect on what’s come before.

~Mitchell Burgess in Northern Exposure

Comments on this entry are closed.

Soren September 13, 2010, 4:31 am

For your info, Joe Pye weed and goldenrod also grow happily in my garden in Denmark, though their bloom is about a month apart here with the Joe Pye weed blooming in early August and the goldenrod at the very end of August.

Kathy Purdy September 14, 2010, 8:53 pm

Thank you for stopping by to share that. It is certainly intriguing to learn how our native plants grow in a different, non-native climate.

Valerie Looney August 29, 2010, 11:04 am

I bought 2 eupatorium purpureum from a nursery that didn’t bloom this year, and one of them has a white fungus on it’s leaves. Than I have another Joepye weed I dug up along the side of the road and it is blooming nicely and covered with bee’s and butterfly’s. Guess I will go check the stems to see what kind it is. Thanks for the info. Wonder why the two didn’t bloom?

Kathy Purdy August 29, 2010, 11:28 am

Nursery life is rough on plants. They could have been root-bound, started unnaturally early or who knows what. I’d give them another year to settle in before deciding they are just sub-par.

Rose August 26, 2010, 9:55 am

This is only the second year for my one Joe Pye in the garden, but it has certainly lived up to my expectations–I love this plant! I’m not sure what cultivar I have, but it looks a little different than yours. It’s already past its prime blooming time, so unfortunately I won’t get to see it in combination with the goldenrod, which is blooming, and the asters, which aren’t.

Meredehuit August 25, 2010, 11:24 am

Joe Pye is new to me, I’ll keep my eye open for it as I’m out and about. Lovely.

Gail August 25, 2010, 11:18 am

kathy, I really like this plant and even tho it loves a moister soil it seems happy in my heavy clay. Like Frances, I’m going to check out the stems. I feel the changes in the air and light, but goldenrod is not yet blooming and JP is almost finished. We really do have so many plants in common even if we are thousands of miles apart. gail

Scott August 25, 2010, 10:15 am

Nice pics…love Joe Pye…have several varieties and you are right, bees and butterflies go crazy for them…it’s not unusual to have a dozen bees swarming each flower head!

Eliz August 25, 2010, 8:52 am

Beautiful. My Joe Pye seems over–it really should be blooming now. It is a great plant and will put up with all kinds of conditions.

Carol August 25, 2010, 6:33 am

I’m on the look out for some good joe pye weed to add to my garden for fall color.

Frances August 25, 2010, 5:29 am

Hi Kathy, we love the Joe Pye, all varieties of them. Thanks for the ID info. We will look for spots but believe ours is a named type called Gateway which might be a mix. Your butterfly looks to be a variegated fritillary, one that we have hanging around Big Joe here as well. Fall begins mid August here too. 🙂