Aster family (Asteraceae)
Formerly in the genus Eupatorium
Photo by Mason Brock (Masebrock), Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
Updated 8 October 2023
$6.00 – $7.00
This species is much less commonly available than its relatives Hollow-stem Joe-Pye Weed or Trumpetweed (E. fistulosum) and Spotted Joe-Pye Weed (E. maculatum). It’s flowers tend to be lighter in color than its relatives – they appear white at first but become more purplish with age. They also have a light vanilla scent, hence the common name. Sweet Joe-Pye Weed is more tolerant of shade than its congeners and can even be grown in open woods. A quintessential back-of-the border perennial and an important nectar source for butterflies.
We’ve seen numerous plants from other growers misidentified as E. purpureum. Identification is actually easy: Sweet Joe-Pye Weed has mostly green stems – the only purple on the stem is at the leaf nodes. It doesn’t help that there is a variety ‘Atropurpureum’ that is often thought to be this species. It’s not. It’s a hybrid.