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Eutrochium maculatum

Spotted Joe-Pye weed

Plant Details

Common Name: Spotted Joe-Pye weed
Family: Asteraceae (aster family)
Mature Height: 5 - 10'
Sun Requirement: Sun, Sun to part shade
Moisture Requirement: Medium - moist, Moist
Flower Color: Pink, Violet
Bloom Time: Mid summer (July - August), Late summer (August - September)
Seed Collection Date: Fall (September - October)

Eutrochium maculatum joe-pye weed
Eutrochium maculatum joe-pye weed

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Eutrochium is Greek for truly wheel-like (due to the whorled leaves); maculatum is Latin and refers to spotted stems.

Native Habitat

Damp meadows, thickets and coastal areas in eastern North America.

Garden Uses

Late summer-blooming, tall attraction in moist gardens such as rain gardens, low areas and pond edges. May be susceptible to powdery mildew.


This ornamental pink to purple flowering, perennial herb grows stiffly erect up to 6 feet tall, with very fibrous roots and stems. It prefers sun to part-shade and moist soil, but can tolerate some dryness once established.

Leaves and Stems

Leaves are simple, serrated, and ovoid, and grow in whorls of 3 to 5 along the main stem. They are yellowish- green, up to 8 inches long, and 2-1/2 inches wide, with conspicuous veins. Main stems are stout, unbranching, toughly fibrous, purple or purple-spotted and typically covered with fine white hairs.


Pink to purple flowers occur in late summer in large, flat-headed clusters, which contain 8-20 very small disk florets, with none of the outer irregular rays seen in many sunflower species.


Individually-seeded dry pods, which do not split open (achene); each has hair-like bristles at the tip for dispersal by wind.

Animal Associates

Flowers are fragrant, and attract butterflies, and some moth larvae (caterpillars). Not a preferred food source for mammals, so is infrequently browsed.


Collect seed heads in early autumn, place upside down in a paper bag, hang to dry. Direct seed in autumn or refrigerate until sowing in spring. Keep soil moist. Flowers second season. The fibrous crown of established plants can also be divided and replanted in the autumn. Can self-seed if left standing over winter.

Ethnobotanical Uses

The common name is thought to refer to a healer (legends vary as to whether this was a Native American or European colonist) who used this plant for a variety of tonics; however, it is now identified as a liver toxin and should not be imbibed.

Garden Location

Library Garden (see garden map)

Anecdotal Information

Genus changed in 2000 to differentiate this plant from Eupatorium which is similar but has opposite leaves, rather than whorled.


Clemson University Cooperative Extension

Flora of North America 

Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center 

Mount Auburn Cemetery 

Native Plant Trust 

Plant Profile by Kate O’Dell