Monday, August 5, 2013

Native Species Profile - Common Boneset

Last week I posted an article about Spotted Joe-pye Weed (Eupatoriadephus maculatus) in which I mentioned that Joe-pye Weeds were formerly lumped with Bonesets but had recently been given their own genus.  It is easy to see how the Joe-pye Weeds and Bonesets were lumped together.

The Common Boneset (Eupatorium perfoliatum) shares many characteristics with the Joe-pye Weeds.  Like Joe-pye Weed, Common Boneset never strays far from water.  It is commonly found along shorelines, on the margins of wetlands, wet meadows, prairies, and roadside ditches.  It is a fair bet that if you find Joe-pye Weed in a given location, you will also find Common Boneset.  Common Boneset has a wider distribution than the Spotted Joe-Pye Weed.  Common Boneset is found in 38 states and 6 Canadian Provinces.  Common Boneset can be found in every state east of the Mississippi River and and as far west as a line running from Manatoba south to east Texas.

Wet Meadow with Goldenrods, White Vervain, Spotted Joe-Pye Weed, and Common Boneset

Common Goldenrod, Spotted Joe-Pye Weed and Common Boneset on shoreline of Chippewa River

Superficially, Common Boneset and Joe-pye Weed also look very similiar.  Common Boneset reaches a height of 2 to 6 foot.  It is topped with a many-branched, flat-topped cluster of fuzzy white blooms.  Depending on location, Common Boneset blooms between July and October.  Individual colonies of plants may bloom for up to 2 months.

Common Boneset blooms (white) surrounded by Spotted Joe-pye Weed blooms (pink/purple)

Common Boneset

The leaves of the Common Boneset are its most distinguishing feature.  After comparing its leaves to that of Joe-pye Weeds it is easy to see how taxonomists have split Joe-pye Weeds away from the Bonesets:

Joe-pye Weeds have whorled leaves.

Whorled leaves of Spotted Joe-pye Weed

Boneset leaves are arranged oppositely on the stem.  The leaves of Common Boneset are joined at the base and the stem perforates the pair of leaves. The individual leaves are lanceolate shaped with serrated margins.  The bottoms of leaves (and the stems) stems are pubescent (hairy)

Perfoliate leaves on the Common Boneset

Basic Information

Common Boneset 
Eupatorium perfoliatum

Height:  2-6’ tall

Habitat:  wet ditches, along roads, prairies, wet meadows

Flower Color:  White

Bloom Time:  July – October

No comments:

Post a Comment