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Joe Pye Weed

Scientific name: Eutrochium purpureum

This is arguably one of the easiest and most rewarding additions to anyone’s garden. You will find that they are a magnet for butterflies! There are several Joe Pye weed species. All have tall leafy stems with flat or rounded heads of small but bountiful shadowy pink flowers that carry a scent of vanilla. These can be found in local garden centers in the late summer and fall.

Joe Pye weeds are an attractive garden choice not just because of their popularity with bees and butterflies, but also because of their hardiness. These tough perennial flowers can withstand a wide range of conditions including high summer temperatures and a lack of water. In ideal conditions, they do prefer slightly moist soils, and in the wild, you can often find them growing in wetlands. The flowers bloom in late summer when many other flowers begin to wane.

Use the height of this plant to its advantage by placing it in the back of a bed, or along the sunnny edge of the woodlands. Or, if you remember to cut it in June just above the lead bract, it will only grow to half it’s height and be   more full. We tested this out in our native plant garden and it was effective.

The story goes that this plant got its name from an Indian medicine man named Joe Pye who used it as the basis as a treatment for typhoid fever. This concoction was believed to have stopped an epidemic of typhoid in colonial Massachusetts. Since then, this plant has had his name.


Coarsely serrated, lance-shaped, dark green leaves (to 12 inces long) in whorls of 3-4 on sturdy green/purple stems.


This pinkish-purple flower has a pleasant vanilla scent. Each flower cluster typically has 5-7 florets. In fall, flowers give way to attractive seed heads which persist into winter, providing yet another food source for birds.

Blooming Season

Blooms mid-summer to early fall.


Likes wetland areas, low ground and meadows. Needs full sun. This is a tough plant that can handle heat. You can see this plant at the Leon Levy Preserve in our native plant garden. It is in a hot dry spot and does very well!

Life Cycle

Perennial, blooms from mid-summer to early fall.


Ecosystem Connections

Flowers are very attractive to a variety of pollinators.

How You Can Help

Plant this beautiful easy care native in your garden and enjoy the butterflies!

Joe Pye weed is more than a weed

Many people perceive Joe Pye weed to be nothing more than a roadside weed and have never seriously considered its outstanding ornamental attributes. When planted in groups or massed, it can provide spectacular flowering and architectural height. Beautiful in borders, cottage gardens, meadows, native plant gardens, or wild/naturalized areas.

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