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Eupatorium perfoliatum

Common boneset

Plant Details

Common Name: Common boneset
Family: Asteraceae (aster family)
Mature Height: 2 - 5'
Sun Requirement: Sun, Sun to part shade
Moisture Requirement: Medium - moist, Moist
Flower Color: White
Bloom Time: Late summer (August - September)
Seed Collection Date: Fall (September - October), Winter (November – February)

Eupatorium perfoliatum boneset

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Eupatorium is Latin for Mithridates Eupator (134 – 63 BC), king of Pontus, who first recorded medicinal uses; perfoliatum is Latin for the appearance of perforation of the leaves by the stem.

Native Habitat

Damp fields, stream edges and bogs.

Garden Uses

Late-season blooms for beauty and pollinators; any moist garden, depression or stream edge.


Showy perennial with fuzzy clusters of tiny, white flowers atop 3 - 6 foot erect, fibrous, non-branching stems. Found in damp fields, stream edges, and bogs, as it prefers moist soil and sun, although it tolerates part-sun and light shade.

Leaves and Stems

Paired, simple, deep green, stalkless leaves, up to 8 inches long, unite basally to surround—or appear to be perforated by—the stem. Leaves are very finely toothed, and triangular to long and tapering. Stems are deep green, fibrous and hairy.


White, fuzzy, flat-topped flower clusters each contain 9 to 23 disc florets, which lack petals.


Fruit is tufted or bristled for wind-powered seed-dispersal.

Animal Associates

A variety of insects, birds and butterflies are attracted to the nectar and seeds of this plant. Generally it is not attractive to mammals, but it is occasionally browsed.


Sow seeds thickly in the autumn, as germination rate is low. Divide clumps in spring or autumn.

Ethnobotanical Uses

Historically was included in bandages around splints to aid healing in cases of fracture, an idea possibly related to the fused leaves. Also used in a wide variety of tinctures and tonics, including for colds, fever and constipation.

Garden Location

South Woods (see garden map)


Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

Missouri Botanical Garden

Native Plant Trust

Plant Profile by Kate O’Dell