On the fourth Wednesday of each month I join Gail at Clay and Limestone for Wildflower Wednesday to celebrate flowering native plants in my garden. November's choice is Boneset.
Researching plants is fun but when I find multiple common or botanical names for the same or similar plants it can be confusing. Such is the case with Bonesets. Boneset, Throughwort (Thoroughwort), Fragrant Mistflower, Havana Snakeroot, Agueweed, Crosswort, Indian Sage, are all names for Eupatorium havenense. Very fragrant and highly attractive to bees, the white blossoms scent the air each fall.
The term Boneset derives from early medicinal uses when a tea made from the plant was used to treat Denque Fever which was also known as "breakbone fever" due to the pain it caused.
Throughwort or thoroughwort apparently refers to the way the stem appears to grow through the leaf although I couldn't quite see that in my garden.
The bees are particularly attracted to throughwort and are often seen chasing butterflies away though this snout butterfly seems to have found a moment of peace with the delicate white blooms.
All those names cover only the white mistflower currently blooming in the garden but there are more. There are two blue mistflowers which may or may not have been tossed out of the Eupatorium class depending on which source you consult. They all remain in the aster family...for now.
A Boneset by any other name....?
Gregg's mistflower, Palmleaf throughwort (thoroughwort), Palm-leaf mistflower, Purple palmleaf mistflower, Purple palmleaf eupatorium is also referred to as Boneset in many sources. The botanical name is Conoclinium greggii or Conoclinium dissectum and previously known as Eupatorium greggii. Clear enough?
The butterflies can't stay away from this plant. Gregg's mistflower dies back in my Zone 8b garden even in a mild winter.
Monarchs love it too
As if it weren't enough to have one blue mistflower there's another named Crucita, Jack in the bush, Fragrant boneset, Butterfly Mistflower, Fragrant mistflower , Blue mistflower, Christmas Bush, and Slamweed. Slamweed? Really? The botanical names include Chromolaena odorata, Eupatorium odoratum, Osmia odorata.
Commonly called Crucita in San Antonio, it is native to Texas and Florida. I added it to my garden after seeing it at Mitchell Lake Audubon Center in October.
It's very fragrant, and covered with butterflies during the bloom season. Crucita is a nectar source popular with Monarch and Queen butterflies. After planting one along the woods this fall (above) I realized I probably already had one shared by a friend and planted in the border against the fence. Crucita is new in my garden but it is said to be semi-evergreen which means it will only die back in a colder winter. Very drought tolerant, they do need some supplemental water in dry summers.
Whatever their names, Bonesets certainly smell sweet and are wonderful plants in my garden attracting masses of butterflies and bees throughout the season.
This visitor watched me take photos and reminds me to let you know that all the Boneset plants in my garden have not had a single deer nibble.
Blue mistflower is planted in part shade where it is said to do best while the Throughwort and Gregg's Mistflower are doing well in full sun though I have noted they also enjoy part shade.
For more wildflowers from blogger's gardens head on over to Clay and Limestone.
I have a couple of Eupatoriums in my garden, but have never noticed a sweet smell from them. I should try some others. We get so few butterflies here, but lots of hummingbirds. Thanks for letting me know about these others.ReplyDelete
Some are not as fragrant as these. I think the butterflies have gone with the cold now.Delete
That's so interesting. I just added fragrant mistflower to my garden this past spring, but I didn't realize it was the same plant as boneset. I'm trying hard to master the botanical names. I find when you are shopping for specific plants it really helps at the nursery if you can ask for the plant by it's unique name. It's confusing enough that the botanical names change on occasion, but the common names are all over the place and you never know what you'll end up with.ReplyDelete
Exactly and once you get used to it you should find it gets easier.Delete
I once had an editor at the LA Times who was known for reminding writers to refer to important people at the top of our stories. "Names make news!" he would bark. Well, with wildflowers, names make good reading. You sure did educate this reader with this post. Boneset. I love it.ReplyDelete
I do occasionally try for a good headline and this was one I gave some thought to so thank you for noticing. Plant names do matter as most of us have found when looking for a specific plant at the nursery.Delete
You DID have fun with researching all those common names, while incidentally making the case for learning the botanical names for plants you might want to seek out. This post was also a lot of fun to read, so thanks for that.ReplyDelete
This post began from curiosity about the numerous, yet similar, common names for these plants which are quite different in appearance.Delete
Happy Wildflower Wednesday!
Thank you Lea!Delete
Thanks for all the info on these three plants. I was going to plant white Boneset, but decided on blue Mistflower instead. Both are native here, too. I went with the latter because I fell in love with it on several blogs and because it sounds like it tolerates shade better. I planted seeds, so hopefully they'll germinate and grow next spring. Lovely post!ReplyDelete
There is a hardy blue mistflower which I didn't report on because it does not grow here but there seems to be one for every climate.Delete
Shirley, it's really interesting plant. It's called Eupator here by Pontic King Mithridates, allegedly he used this herb as an antidote. It grows well here, although the climate is cold. Have a nice week!ReplyDelete
I did see the information on Eupator in my research and found it to be great background but decided to focus on Boneset for this post. Ideas for another post perhaps.Delete
Good to know that many of these grow where you are.
This is certainly one group of plants with many and often changing names.ReplyDelete
I am glad you still have flowers. I think most of my mistflowers and/or bonesets are toast. I covered some last Sunday in expectation that the weather would soon turn warm again and the butterflies would out looking for food. I finally got to uncover them today because we are about to have a streak of nights with temps above freezing.
I am not a fan of the strong scent of the fragrant mistflower. It often makes me sneeze and my eyes burn if I am downwind. But I keep it for the late season flowers that attract bees and butterflies. Another interesting fact about Chromolaena odorata is that it is an invasive species in other countries. We don’t often hear about our native plants being invasive elsewhere.
We have been especially cold early this year and I hope the butterflies have found their way south by now.Delete
Bush Bernie in Australia discusses the invasive issue quite a bit and we definitely know plants from other places can be invasive here.
You can follow her invasive removal efforts here: