Sunday, August 20, 2006

Joe Pye Weed

Who would purchase a perennial with the word 'weed' in the name? Isn't that just asking for trouble?

Me, that's who. I'm always lookin' for a get rich quick scheme and Joe Pye Weed is considered, by some, to be an aphrodisiac. I figure all I need is an Ebay account, a clever copywriter and few gullible bidders. Bam! I've created a new love potion! (I won't be remembering any of the little people once I auction off my seeds.)

Joe Pye Weed has no business in my xeric garden - it's a very thirsty plant. Well, actually it's more of a tree than a plant. Laden with fuzzy pink flowers on a 6-foot purple stem.

Now that it's blooming, I recognize it - a big lummox of a 'weed' that grows wild along the hiking trails in Minnesota. No doubt because of those 10,000 lakes.

Turns out Old Joe was a Native American who used this wildflower as a natural cure for typhoid. Ebay bidders might not find this plant appealing, but the birds and the butterflies sure do.

*Eupatorium maculatum (Spotted Joe-Pye Weed,) USDA zones 3-10, is a wildflower that colonizes near creeks and stream beds. Blooms from July to September in moist conditions.

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