Ohio NativesPlantsJune 1, 2023by Colin0Common Boneset

Common Boneset, scientifically known as Eupatorium perfoliatum, is a native perennial plant that holds both historical significance and medicinal value. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the history, growing instructions, maintenance tips, and other important aspects of Common Boneset.

History and Significance

Common Boneset has a rich history dating back to Native American tribes who used it for its medicinal properties. It was believed to have the ability to heal broken bones, hence the name “Boneset.” The plant also played a role in traditional folk medicine throughout the years. Today, Common Boneset continues to be appreciated for its beauty and potential health benefits.

Growing Common Boneset

Here are some essential guidelines for successfully growing Common Boneset:

  1. Location: Common Boneset thrives in full sun to partial shade. It can adapt to a wide range of soil types, including moist or even slightly wet soils. Choose a location that provides sufficient sunlight and well-drained soil.
  2. Planting: Start Common Boneset from nursery-bought plants or sow seeds directly in the garden. Plant the young plants or seeds in spring or fall, spacing them about 12 to 18 inches apart. Prepare the soil by removing any weeds or debris and incorporating organic matter to improve its fertility.
  3. Watering: Common Boneset prefers moist soil but can tolerate periods of drought once established. Water the plants regularly during dry spells to ensure they receive adequate moisture. Applying a layer of organic mulch around the plants helps retain moisture and suppress weed growth.
  4. Maintenance: Common Boneset is relatively low-maintenance. Deadhead the faded flowers to encourage continuous blooming and prevent self-seeding. Cut back the stems in late fall or early spring to promote new growth. Divide the clumps every few years to control its spread and maintain vigor.
  5. Propagation: Common Boneset can be propagated through division or by collecting and planting seeds. Divide the clumps in early spring or fall by carefully separating the roots and replanting them. Collect seeds from the dried flower heads and sow them directly in the garden or save them for future planting.

Uses and Benefits

  1. Medicinal Properties: Common Boneset has been traditionally used to relieve symptoms of colds, flu, and fever. It is believed to have immune-stimulating and anti-inflammatory properties. However, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional before using it for medicinal purposes.
  2. Pollinator Magnet: Common Boneset attracts various pollinators, including bees and butterflies, with its abundant nectar-rich flowers. By including this plant in your garden, you can create a welcoming habitat for beneficial insects and contribute to the overall health of the ecosystem.

Interesting Facts

  • Common Boneset earned its name due to its historical use in treating “break-bone” fever, which was a term used to describe severe fevers associated with diseases like dengue fever.
  • The plant’s leaves are opposite each other on the stem and appear to be fused, giving the impression of a single leaf wrapping around the stem.
  • Common Boneset has a striking appearance, with clusters of small, white, tubular flowers forming dense, domed inflorescences that attract attention and add beauty to gardens and natural areas.

Common Boneset is a captivating native perennial that offers historical significance, potential health benefits, and ecological value. By incorporating this plant into your Ohio landscape, you can enjoy its attractive blooms, support pollinators, and appreciate its cultural heritage.

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