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Joe Pye Weed - Queen Of The Meadow

Updated on May 24, 2015

Late summer is the time of year when nature has reached maturity. The efforts of springtime planting have paid off. We are gathering our vegetables and we are witness to the full beauty of our flower gardens. Not to be ignored are the wild renderings of the land flora, some debuting while others ebb. We watch (some, with dismay) the lilies fade and the rose gardens begin to crumble. Still there are glorious awakenings in the process. One of these gifts is the Joe Pye Weed.


Don't let the name fool you. Joe Pye weed is a member of the chrysanthemum family and is incorporated into flower gardens around the world. Though nicknamed "queen of the meadow", it grows here in the mountains as well. I have often enjoyed its majestic presence along the Blue Ridge Parkway on my way to work. Joe Pye weed can grow up to eight feet tall so it cannot be missed. It consists of a long stem topped with small purple to purple-white flower clusters that form a calyx. The botanical name for Joe Pye Weed is eupatorium purpureum and like all members of the eupatorium family it is herbaceous.

Joe Pye was a Native American from New England who discovered the medicinal uses for the plant and used it to cure fevers. Most of the plant is poisonous but the roots have been used for relief of symptoms associated with flu and upper respiratory congestion. It was used as a diuretic and for the relief of aches and pains. Joe Pye weed, like many herbs, can be toxic and should not be used casually without supervision.

Most fun is the lore assocated with Joe Pye weed. It was used to cast spells of love and respect. It was consdered a love medicine in many Native American tribes. To be successful in attracting someone of the opposite sex, put a leaf of Joe Pye in your mouth. Gamblers were known to carry a few leaves in their pockets as good luck charms. If you want to gain the respect of others, Joe Pye weed can get the job done.

Any butterfly garden will benefit from the addition of Joe Pye weed. Swallowtail butterflies and bees are as attracted to it as much as passers-by. It can be placed along the back of a perennial garden for fall color and added depth. Or it can be given a section of the yard of its own for a dramatic eyecatcher. Joe Pye prefers moist soil and locations but can adapt to dryer climates by adding organic matter to the soil and keeping it well-watered. Joe Pie weed can be grown from seed and though slow to start will grow rapidly. A dwarf version of the plant has been developed. It is called "Little Joe" and is ideal for more compact areas.

Joe Pye weed demands attention. It is a worthy and showy perennial for your native garden. When your summer garden is past its peak and showing signs of fading, Joe Pye can bring back the beauty and remind us all that every season has its gifts



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    • Barbara Kay profile image

      Barbara Badder 4 years ago from USA

      This plant grows wild here, but I've never found any except in the neighbor's garden. Either I'll have to buy some or get some from someone for perennial bed.

    • Stephanie Henkel profile image

      Stephanie Henkel 4 years ago from USA

      I've always admired this pretty weed in the meadows and marshes near our home in NY State, but never knew its name. I love any flowers, especially the ones that attract bees and butterflies!

    • suziecat7 profile image

      suziecat7 4 years ago from Asheville, NC

      Thank you, Moonlake and Audrey. Nice of you to visit!

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 4 years ago from California

      Oh we have some of this growing and it is so pretty! Thank you for helping me name it!

    • moonlake profile image

      moonlake 4 years ago from America

      Beautiful plant never heard of it before. The Monarch butterflies sure love it. Enjoyed your hub. Voted up and pinned, shared and G+.

    • suziecat7 profile image

      suziecat7 6 years ago from Asheville, NC

      Thanks, Birdspirit - It is a beauty.

    • BirdSpirit profile image

      BirdSpirit 6 years ago

      Very imformative and pretty, but what a name!

    • suziecat7 profile image

      suziecat7 7 years ago from Asheville, NC

      Habee - you probably do. I see them along the Blue Ridge parkway in late summer. Thanks for coming by.

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Cool! wonder if we have them around here?

    • suziecat7 profile image

      suziecat7 7 years ago from Asheville, NC

      Dolores - I agree it is beautiful. Thanks for stopping by.

    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 7 years ago from East Coast, United States

      SusieCat, I love Joe Pye weed and have it growing in my garden. It popped up in an area where I did not want something real tall, so I chopped it down and it came up and bloomed at about 3 feet tall. So cool. Of course I have some full sized Joe Pye weed as well, it is so beautiful!

    • Teresa Laurente profile image

      Maria Teresa Rodriguez - Laurente 7 years ago from San Antonio, Texas, U.S.A.

      I must have this plant! for success in all facets in life and to attract beauty and friendship. Wow! Thank you for sharing. More power.

    • suziecat7 profile image

      suziecat7 7 years ago from Asheville, NC

      Thanks for stopping by. I've alwayd been fascinated by wildflowers. They are nature at its best.

    • Yard of nature profile image

      Yard of nature 7 years ago from Michigan

      You have to love a weed named Joe Pye Weed. Maybe more weeds need fun names. Thanks for looking at the world around you.

    • profile image

      ralwus 8 years ago

      Only have seen it down there. Showy thing ain't she? thanks

    • Sandyspider profile image

      Sandy Mertens 8 years ago from Wisconsin, USA

      It is a beautiful plant. Nice hub.

    • prasetio30 profile image

      prasetio30 8 years ago from malang-indonesia

      beautiful plant. I never seen this before. thanks for share. nice picture also.

    • profile image

      Nancy's Niche 8 years ago

      Very informative article...I don't believe we have Joe Pye Weed in our area. It’s to pretty to be categorized as a weed...

    • suziecat7 profile image

      suziecat7 8 years ago from Asheville, NC

      Hi Kebennett - Thanks - the joe pye weed is in full bloom now - of course I think queen anne's lace is pretty too so what do I know. Thanks again for stopping by.

    • Kebennett1 profile image

      Kebennett1 8 years ago from San Bernardino County, California

      Hi Suziecat7, Joe Pye Weed is a beautiful weed. I have not seen any in our area. I have never even heard of it! Great informative Hub. Your Hubs are always a pleasure to read!