Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!


Plant Database

Search for native plants by scientific name, common name or family. If you are not sure what you are looking for, try the Combination Search or our Recommended Species lists.

Enter a Plant Name:
Or you can choose a plant family:
Eupatorium perfoliatum (Common boneset)
Brundage, Stephanie

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. Upland Boneset (E. sessilifolium) is somewhat similar, but its leaves are not fused at the base.


From the Image Gallery

18 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Size Notes: Up to about 6 feet tall, often shorter.
Fruit: Fruit is a cypsela (pl. cypselae). Though technically incorrect, the fruit is often referred to as an achene.

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 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 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

Web Reference

Webref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.

Research Literature

Reslit 193 - A comparison of demographic characteristics in a rare and a common species of Eupatorium (1997) D. L. Byers and T. R. Meagher
Reslit 525 - The effect of purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria L,; Lythraceae) on the pollination and reproductive success of sympatric co-flowering wetland plants (1999) G. P. Grabas and T. M. Laverty
Reslit 442 - Attractiveness of Michigan native plants to arthropod natural enemies and herbivores (2007) A. K. Fiedler and D. A. Landis
Reslit 548 - Cytotoxicity and antibacterial activity of ethanol extract from leaves of a herbal drug, boneset (Eupatorium perfoliatum) (2000) S. Habtemariam and A. M. Macpherson
Reslit 1228 - Relationships of the new england boneset, Eupatorium novae-angliae (Asteraceae) (2007) E. E. Schilling, R. J. Leblond, B. A. Sorrie and A...
Reslit 1643 - An evaluation of mechanisms preventing growth and survival of two native species in invasive bohemian knotweed (Fallopia x bohemica, Polygonaceae) (2007) T. J. Siemens and B. Blossey
Reslit 2209 - Cell shape and cell volume relations in the pith of Eupatorium perfoliatum L (1944) J. W. Marvin
Reslit 2286 - Effect of cross proximity on progeny fitness in a rare and a common species of Eupatorium (Asteraceae) (1998) D. L. Byers
Reslit 2389 - Pollen Quantity and Quality as Explanations for Low Seed Set in Small Populations Exemplified by Eupatorium (Asteraceae) (1995) D. L. Byers
Reslit 2582 - A cytotaxonomic study in the genus Eupatorium (1953) W. F. Grant

This information was provided by the Florida WIldflower Foundation.
Search More Titles in Research Literature

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: 2022-12-27
Research By: TWC Staff

Go back