SWEET JOE-PYE WEED
File Size: 56 KB
 
Eupatorium purpureum  L.
Cherokee County, Kansas
Perennial
Height: 24-80 inches
Family: Asteraceae - Sunflower Family
Flowering Period:   July, August, September
Also Called: Sweet-scented joe-pye weed.
Stems: Erect or ascending, glabrous or nearly so below inflorescence, slightly waxy, green or purplish, purple at nodes, usually solid.
Leaves: Mostly in whorls of 3's or 4's, uppermost sometimes alternate or opposite, lanceolate to ovate or elliptic, 3 to 12 inches long, 1 to 3.6 inches wide, thin, 1 main vein; surfaces glabrous to short-hairy; margins sharply toothed; tip tapering to sharp point; base narrowed to short stalk.
Inflorescences: Panicle, large, dome-shaped, many-flowered, terminal; involucre bracts overlapping in several series, ovate to lanceolate to narrowly oblong-elliptic, usually glabrous, purplish; tips blunt to pointed.
Flowers: Ray florets absent, disk florets 4-7 per head, fragrant; corollas 1/5 to 1/3 inch long, pale pink or purplish.
Fruits: Achene, mostly 5-angled, 1/8 to 1/6 inch long, dark brown or black, tipped with bristles, enclosing small seed.
Habitat: Open woods, thickets, woodland edges, roadsides, stream banks; moist sandy or loamy soils.
Distribution: East 1/4 of Kansas.
Origin: Native
Uses: Native Americans used the root to treat rheumatism, kidney disorders, and constipation. The root was steeped and the liquid used as a wash to alleviate the feeling of illness after smelling a corpse. The plant tops were steeped and the vapors inhaled to treat colds. A poultice of fresh leaves was applied to burns, the flower tops used as good luck charms when gambling, and ash from burned roots as a salt substitute. Sweet joe-pye weed is an important source of honey. It is sometimes used as an ornamental and under those conditions it has been known to grow as much as 12 feet tall.
Comments: Eupatorium is in reference to Greek King of Pontus Mithridates Eupator who is said to have discovered a poison antidote. According to New England tradition, Joe Pye was a Native American who treated spotted fever with species of Eupatorium.

Sweet joe-pye weed inflorescence
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Cherokee County, Kansas
Sweet joe-pye weed bracts and disk florets
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Cherokee County, Kansas
Sweet joe-pye weed leaves and stem
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Cherokee County, Kansas
Sweet joe-pye weed
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Cherokee County, Kansas
Sweet joe-pye weed leaf
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Cherokee County, Kansas
Sweet joe-pye weed florets
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Shawnee County, Kansas
Sweet joe-pye weed inflorescence
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Shawnee County, Kansas
Sweet joe-pye weed leaves
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Shawnee County, Kansas
Sweet joe-pye weed achenes
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Cherokee County, Kansas