Eupatorium maculatum

Spotted Joe Pye Weed

Spotted Joe Pye Weed, Photo © by Earl J.S. Rook
Spotted Joe Pye Weed
Photo © by Earl J.S. Rook

Flora, fauna, earth, and sky...
The natural history of the northwoods


  • Eupatorium, from the Greek, eu-, "well, good", and the Latin patens, "spreading"; hence, "well spread", a reference to the broad, flat flower cluster.
  • maculatum, from the Latin, maculata, "spotted"
  • Joe Pye Weed, from
  • Other common names include Mottled Joe Pye Weed


  • Kingdom Plantae, the Plants
    • Division Magnoliophyta, the Angiosperms (flowering plants)
      • Class Magnoliopsida, the Dicotyledons 
      • Subclass Asteridae
        • Order Asterales, the Sunflowers 
          • Family Asteraceae, the Sunflowers 
            • Genus Eupatorium, the Throughworts
  • Taxonomic Serial Number: 502517
  • Also known as 


  • A ¼, ½, ¾, º, é
  • Leaves leaves are positioned on the upper portion of the stem near the base of the flower heads are typically opposite (2 leaves per node). All other leaves are borne on the stem in whorls (5 leaves per node). Leaves are 2½ to 8 inches long, thick, broadly ovate, and tapering into a long tip at the apex and a stalk (petiole) at the base. Leaf edges have teeth that vary from sharp and serrate to shallow and rounded.
  • Stem stems are purple or spotted with purple, erect, ridged, and usually unbranched below. Stems of SPOTTED JOEPYEWEED are purple or purple-spotted, there are 5 leaves in a whorl, and flower heads are pinkish-purple consisting of between 8 and 22 tubular flowers. Flower heads are arranged in flat-topped terminal clusters.
  • Roots The root systems includes spreading rhizomes (horizontal underground stems).
  • Flowers each pinkish-purple flower head is about 1/3 inch wide and consists of more than 8 and fewer than 22 tubular flowers. Between 9 to 15 flower heads are densely packed into compact, flat-topped, 4- to 5½-inch-wide terminal cluster.
    • Sepals
    • Petals
    • Stamens
    • Pistils
    • Ovary superior (within blossom) inferior (below flower)
  • Fruit have single-seeded fruits that are linear, angled, black or dark brown, and tipped with bristles (pappus).
  • Seed
  • This perennial herbaceous plant grows in damp areas along the edges of bogs oroccasionally on the bog where few vines occur. This wetland plant over-winters as a rhizome that can produce a dense stand if not removed in its first year. It is distinguished from other herbaceous plants such as asters and goldenrod by its whorl of elongate, shallowly toothed leaves. Usually 4, sometimes 3 - 5, leaves occur at each node, but  occasionally leaves are oppositely paired as in the specimen shown.  The flower head of Joe-Pye-weed is rounded and has many very small purple flowers. Additional species of Eupatorium, e.g. E. maculatum, spotted Joe-Pye-weed, may occur along the edges of the bogs. It can be distinguished by its narrower, more lance-shaped leaves and a flatter inflor-escence. Native to New England.
  • Stems: erect, 2 - 6 feet high, purple spotted
  • Leaves: thick, oval to lance-shaped, coarsely toothed, often in whorls around stem
  • Roots: fibrous
  • Flowers: pink or purple composite flat-topped heads, borne in many-branched clusters on long flower stems, bloom July - September
  • Seeds: oblong, narrow, 5-angled, may have tiny bristles
  • Seedling: Seed leaves are oblong and less than 0.5 inches long. Subsequent leaves are opposite, hairy, and may be yellow-green. Veins are prominent on the underside of leaves, and tissue between veins may be wrinkled. The second and following pairs of leaves are up to 2.5 inches long. Leaf pairs are up to an inch apart on a thick, hairy, rough stem.


  • Identifiable as
  • Distinguished from
  • Field Marks


  • Alaska to Newfoundland,
  • Northern America: Canada - Alberta [n.], British Columbia [s.w.], Manitoba [s.], New Brunswick, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Quebec, Saskatchewan; United States - Arizona [n.e.], Colorado, Connecticut, Idaho [s.e.], Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas [n.e.], Kentucky [n.], Maine, Maryland [w.?], Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri [n.], Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina [w.], North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia [w.], Washington [n.w.], West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming


  • Common on ditchbanks, wild marsh, and a variety of other wetland habitats. May occur along cranberry drainage ditches, bed edges, and in old marshlands adjacent to beds. Thrives in moist calcareous soils.
  • marshes, wet meadows, swampy woods, roadside ditches, lakeshores, stream edges, bogs, and other wet places.




  • Trees:
  • Shrubs:
  • Herbs:
  • Ground Covers:
  • Mammals:
  • Birds:


  • Early American colonists used Joepyeweeds to treat various ailments and, according to folklore, an Indian called 'Joe Pye' used the plant to cure fevers.



  • Sexually by seed
  • Flowers
  • Assexually by


  • By rhizome division,


  • Hardy to USDA Zone 3 (average minimum annual temperature -40ºF)
  • Cultural Requirements
    • Light:
    • Soil:
    • Water:
    • Spacing:
    • Fertilization
  • Size 12"-18"W x 12"-18"H
  • Growth rate
  • Good for
  • Cultivars include
    • variety 'Alba', with
  • Cultivars and species available by mail order from specialty suppliers or at local nurseries



Valley Internet Company
Return to Home Page
Send Feedback to Webmaster

Last Updated on 22 September, 2002