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Eupatorium perfoliatum (Common boneset)
Bransford, W.D. and Dolphia

Eupatorium perfoliatum

Eupatorium perfoliatum L.

Common boneset

Asteraceae (Aster Family)


USDA Symbol: EUPE3

USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)

Tiny, white flowers are arranged in fuzzy clusters top the 3-6 ft. stems of this perennial. Hairy plant with dense flat-topped clusters of many dull-white flowers. Paired leaves, united basally, are perforated by the erect stems.

As suggested by the Latin species name, the stem appears to be growing through the leaf. To early herb doctors, this indicated the plant would be useful in setting bones, so its leaves were wrapped with bandages around splints. The dried leaves have also been used to make a tonic, boneset tea, thought effective in treating colds, coughs, and constipation. Upland Boneset (E. sessilifolium) is somewhat similar, but its leaves are not fused at the base.


Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Size Notes: 3-6
Size Class: 3-6 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White
Bloom Time: Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep , Oct


USA: AL , AR , CT , DC , DE , FL , GA , IA , IL , IN , KS , KY , LA , MA , MD , ME , MI , MN , MO , MS , NC , ND , NE , NH , NJ , NY , OH , OK , PA , RI , SC , SD , TN , TX , VA , VT , WI , WV
Canada: MB , NB , NS , ON , PE , QC
Native Distribution: E. Canada to FL, w. to e. Dakotas, w. NE, e. KS & n. TX
Native Habitat: Damp prairies; alluvial woods; bogs

Growing Conditions

Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist , Wet
Soil Description: Moist to wet soils


Use Medicinal: The dried leaves have been used to make a tonic, boneset tea, thought effective in treating colds, coughs, and constipation. (Niering)
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Attracts: Birds , Butterflies
Nectar Source: yes

Value to Beneficial Insects

Special Value to Native Bees
Supports Conservation Biological Control

This information was provided by the Pollinator Program at The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.


Description: Sow seeds in the fall and plant thickly as germination is usually low. Clumps can be divided in spring or fall.
Seed Collection: Not Available
Seed Treatment: Seeds germinate when incubated at 70-85 degrees in the presence of light.
Commercially Avail: yes

Find Seed or Plants

Find seed sources for this species at the Native Seed Network.

View propagation protocol from Native Plants Network.

National Wetland Indicator Status

This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.

From the National Suppliers Directory

According to the inventory provided by Associate Suppliers, this plant is available at the following locations:

Edge of the Woods Native Plant Nursery - Orefield, PA
American Native Nursery - Quakertown, PA
Toadshade Wildflower Farm - Frenchtown, NJ
Prairie Nursery - Westfield, WI

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Crosby Arboretum - Picayune, MS
Native Seed Network - Corvallis, OR
Mt. Cuba Center - Hockessin, DE
* Available Online from Wildflower Center Store


Bibref 946 - Gardening with Prairie Plants: How to Create Beautiful Native Landscapes (2002) Wasowski, Sally
* The Midwestern Native Garden: Native Alternatives to Nonnative Flowers and Plants An Illustrated Guide (2011) Adelman, Charlotte and Schwartz, Bernard L.

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Additional resources

USDA: Find Eupatorium perfoliatum in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Eupatorium perfoliatum in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Eupatorium perfoliatum


Record Modified: 2012-12-07
Research By: TWC Staff

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