Plant of the Week: American boneset

Photo by Ayinde Listhrop

As the autumn colors start to set in on the High Line, American boneset, Eupatorium perfoliatum, is in continuous bloom. The flower inflorescences are composed of multiple small, white flowers on top of 3 to 6-foot tall stems, with leaves in opposite arrangement. Although the leaves are attached to the stem in pairs, they are joined at the base, giving the appearance of a single leaf that is "perforated" by the hairy stem. The specific epiphet of "perfoliatum" references this unique feature.

It is an important late-season nectar source for pollinators in our region. Native to Canada and the United States, American boneset is found from Eastern Canada to the Dakotas, through Nebraska, Kansas, and Texas. It has a long bloom season, in some regions from June through October.

In traditional medicine, American boneset had been used in tonics and teas for the treatment of colds, coughs, and other respiratory ailments.

Photo by Ayinde Listhrop

American boneset is an all-around, strong performing perennial in the garden with an incredibly long bloom time, and blooms in sunny to lightly shady conditions. It grows quite well in a range of soil types, from sandy to clay soils, but prefers wetter roots. It is relatively low maintenance, and naturalizes well in moist or wet areas in Hardiness Zones 3 through 8.

Eupatorium perfoliatum can be found growing by the Northern Spur and 10th Avenue Square, 16th to 17th Streets.

The High Line's planting design is inspired by the self-seeded landscape that grew up between rail tracks after the trains stopped running in the 1980s. Today, the High Line includes more than 500 species of perennials, grasses, shrubs, and trees – each chosen for their hardiness, adaptability, diversity, and seasonal variation in color and texture. Some of the species that originally grew on the High Line's rail bed are reflected in the park landscape today. Every week we share one of our gardeners' current favorites with you.

Our horticultural team counts on members and friends like you to help keep the High Line beautiful and thriving. Join our community of supporters who play an essential role in the High Line's most important gardening projects.

TD Bank is the Presenting Green Sponsor of the High Line.

Recent Posts
Behind the Bushes: The Gay History of the High Line
view post
No More Shimmering Cowboys: A Conversation with Yara Travieso
view post