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Eutrochium purpureum is a clump-forming herb that grows to 1.5–2.4 meters (4.9–7.9 ft) tall and about 1.2 meters (3.9 feet) wide. Plants are found in full sun to part shade in mesic to wet soils. Stems are upright, thick, round, and purple, with whorls of leaves at each node. As the plant begins to bloom the stems often bend downward under the weight of the flowers. The leaves grow to 30 cm (12 in) long and have a somewhat wrinkled texture. The purplish flowers are produced in large loose, convex shaped compound corymbiform arrays. Plants bloom mid to late summer and attract much activity from insects that feed on the nectar produced by the flowers.Eutrochium maculatum is an herbaceous native perennial wildflower, commonly known as Joe Pye Weed or Queen of the Meadow, that is useful as a tall plant in wet spaces. It displays clusters of purple blossoms through summer into fall. Joe Pye Weed prefers moist to wet soil and does best in sun to partial shade. This plant is resistant to damage by deer. It does best in average, medium to wet soils in full sun, but tolerates some light afternoon shade in hot summer climates. You can cut the plants to the ground in late winter. The root system is fibrous and rhizomatous. This plant often forms small clonal colonies. You can divide the plant in spring or fall and replant to a new site.
Towering over the garden, Eutrochium fistulosum (Joe-Pye Weed) is an upright, clump-forming perennial boasting huge domed clusters of small, vanilla-scented, pinkish-lavender flowers in mid-summer to early fall. Borne atop erect, strong stems which are hollow, the long-lasting blossoms are attractive to butterflies and pollinators in search of nectar. They give way to attractive, soft buff colored seed heads which persist well into winter. Narrow, lance-shaped leaves, up to 10 in. long (25 cm), are whorled along the erect stem. Native to eastern North America, Eutrochium fistulosum provides a wonderful garden presence and late season flowers at a time when choices may be limited. Use it in the informal setting of a cottage garden or allow it to naturalize in a woodland garden.Confusing things further is the frequent mislabeling of species and cultivars in the nursery trade because of the obscure nature of some of the cultivars or because of a lack of knowledge on how to distinguish species. In some cases, mislabeling by large nurseries “institutionalizes” the name of a misidentified species. For example, over the years, the cultivar ‘Gateway’ has variously been listed as Eupatorium maculatum, fistulosum, purpureum, or purpureum ssp. maculatum, and a casual browse through the internet will turn up all of these names. A last bit of confusion is that the Joe-Pye Weeds have gone through several name changes over the last few decades. They can still be found variously as the Genus Eupatoriadelphus, Eupatorium, and Eutrochium. Many nurseries still list them as Eupatorium, but most publications use the current scientific consensus that the Joe-Pye Weeds (Eupatorium dubium, fistulosum, maculatum, purpureum, and steelei) are a separate Genus Eutrochium, while the rest (such as Boneset, Eupatorium perfoliatum) remain Eupatorium. This is how they will be treated here. (Source: www.ecolandscaping.org)