Flower of the Day: Hairy Boneset

UPDATE 1/11/17: I now believe these pictures to be of Godfrey’s thoroughwort, Eupatorium godfreyanum

Eupatorium pubescens; Asteraceae (aster family)


This species is still in the genus Eupatorium (for now), and is also known as E. rotundifolium, and by the common name roundleaf thoroughwort.  Notice that the flowers are very similar in shape and size to yesterday’s FOTD.  The inflorescence is flatter, though, and in most other ways the plant looks completely different:20140731-DSC_0045The leaves are much smaller, rounder, and sessile (joy-pye leaves have long petioles at the center and lower portions of the stem).  And, the leaves are arranged in pairs on the stem instead of whorls of four.  Also, as you can see from the picture above, hairy boneset likes a drier habitat, preferring rocky upland soils.

Hairy boneset is endangered in New Hampshire and New York, and possibly extirpated in Maine.  Its native range is from Maine south to Florida and west to Louisiana and Arkansas.

By the way, the common name “boneset” supposedly derives from the plant’s use in treaing dengue fever (also known as breakbone fever).  “Thoroughwort” comes from the perfoliate characteristic of the leaves of several of these species.  (A perfoliate leaf is one in which the stem appears to pierce, or go through, the leaf.)  Later this week I’ll feature a thoroughwort.

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