Eupatorium altissimum

Species Native to Missouri
Common Name: tall thoroughwort
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Asteraceae
Native Range: Central-eastern and southeastern United States
Zone: 4 to 8
Height: 2.00 to 6.00 feet
Spread: 2.00 to 3.00 feet
Bloom Time: August to October
Bloom Description: White
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Naturalize
Flower: Showy
Attracts: Butterflies
Tolerate: Deer, Drought, Dry Soil

Culture

Best grown dry to medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Best with some afternoon shade in hot summer climates. Good drought tolerance. Will spread in garden areas by self-seeding.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Eupatorium altissimum, commonly called tall boneset or tall thoroughwort, is a somewhat weedy perennial herb that grows from branching rhizomes to 2-6’ tall on single upright stems that branch toward the top. It is native to dry upland prairies, open woods, thickets, clearings and fields throughout eastern and central North America from New York to Ontario to Minnesota and Nebraska south to Texas and Florida.

Simple, opposite, elliptic-lanceolate, leaves (2-6” long) are serrate above the middle, tapered toward the tip and base, and pubescent underneath. Three parallel veins run the length of each leaf. Star-shaped, dull white to cream disk flowers (ray flowers absent), each with 5 triangular petal-like lobes, bloom from August to October in flattened clusters (corymbs to 4-8” across) rising from the stem tops and upper leaf axils. Fruits are resinous-glandular achenes.

Plants in this species are apomictic polyploids (3 or more sets of chromosomes per cell) except for some diploid (2 sets of chromosomes per cell) populations which are only found in the Ozark Region (Missouri-Arkansas).

Genus name comes from the Greek name for these herbaceous and shrubby plants in honor of Mithridates VI Eupator, 132-63 B.C., King of Pontus, who reportedly discovered the medicinal uses for some Eupatorium species plants.

Specific epithet means especially tall or towering in reference to the height of the plant.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Watch for powdery mildew. Aphids and leaf miner may appear.

Garden Uses

Wildflower gardens. Native plant gardens. Naturalized areas. Open woodland gardens.