Family Asteraceae- Aster
Late Boneset is a fall blooming wildflower usually found in woodlands and in the marginal areas around them. Its range runs from Massachusetts in the eastern United States, west to Kansas, and from Wisconsin in the north, south to Kentucky and West Virginia. It is pretty common here in Indiana, forming thick drifts of pure white blooms in and near the forest.
Boneset was thought to be useful for aiding broken bones to set by early herbalists, so it was wrapped in bandages and splints and placed around broken bones. A tea made from its dried leaves was given for colds, coughs and constipation. It has been found to be more harmful than helpful, as it can cause kidney and liver damage when taken.
Boneset will grow from two to five feet in height, with toothed leaves on opposite sides of the stems. It begins blooming in early September and continues through the month. Eupatorium serotinum, is a bit too weedy looking to include in a perennial garden, however it is quite pretty in the wild stands found in woodlands, abandoned fields and marginal area near forests. It is frequently found growing with goldenrod, the snow white flowering bracts contrasting nicely with the brilliant golden color of the goldenrod.
One of the more common fall blooming wildflowers, Late Boneset’s snow white flowers beautify the autumn woodlands and fields of the countryside. No longer considered a healing herb, the heavily blooming plants are soothing to the eye in the bright September sun.
Paul Wonning is the owner of Gardens and Nature.com a web site about gardening, hiking and other nature related topics.