I Love  Eupatorium perfoliatum aka Bonset

Sep 1, 2023 | Love This!

Name:  Eupatorium perfoliatum aka bonset

Type of Plant:  A perennial native to north America that grows well in moist soils.

Why I Love This Plant:  This is a lovely native wildflower when it’s growing in the right place. It can get to be 2 to 6 feet tall depending on where it’s growing. The leaves are a lovely dark green, and the white flowers are attractive in the late summer and early fall. It’s a favorite plant for butterflies and bees, and I think it’s a nice flower for bouquets as well.

This plant has been used as a folk medicine and some say that the common name refers to it’s use for healing. Others claim that “boneset” refers to the leaves, which look as if they are fused together around the stem.

A Word to the Wise:  You might want to keep this plant in your wildflower areas, since given any encouragement it will self-seed like crazy. So maybe not the best plant for a perennial garden, but if you want a native wildflower meadow and your soil is moist, this is worth planting.

Boneset will grow in clay or sand, as long as there is enough moisture. If you plant it in a garden that has damp, fertile soil this Eupatorium will grow to five or six feet tall.

Here you see bonset Eupatorium growing in pure sand near a pond on Cape Cod. Since it’s in sand, the plant doesn’t grow much more than two feet tall. 

Some claim that this plant was used medicinally to help bones heal because the leaves that are often fused on either side of the stem led people to believe that the plant would help bones fuse as well. Others say that the plant was used to calm fevers, not heal bones per se. On my beach there are plants with fused leaves and some where the opposite leaves are not together in this way.

If this Eupatorium is growing in moist conditions it can get tall, and can tend to lean or flop. This is another reason to plant this perennial in a wildflower meadow instead of a perennial garden.

Bees love Eupatorium perfoliatum!



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