Common Name: Joe-Pye Weed, Gravel Root, Purple Boneset, Hempweed
Description: Late summer flowering, North American perennial; fragrant, pale pink to pale purple flowers in large, domed clusters; attractive seed heads in winter
Size: Plants grow 4 to 7 feet tall
Cultural Information: Prefers full sun to light shade and moist, rich loam; pinch back in early summer for a bushier plant
USDA Zones: 3 through 9
Historical Notes: This handsome North American member of the Aster family occurs naturally in low moist ground, moist wooded slopes, savannahs, and along streams from New Hampshire to Minnesota, Iowa, and Nebraska, and south to Florida and Georgia. It was used in the garden as a large accent in the perennial border. The species was introduced to Europe by 1640 and listed in Philadelphia nurseryman John Bartram's catalogue in 1793. Also known as Gravel Root, Purple Boneset, and Hempweed, the North American Indians used it as a diaphoretic to induce perspiration and break a fever and early settlers quickly adopted this practice. Joe-pye has large leaves in whorls around the stem and its late-season blooms attract swallowtail butterflies.