Spotted Joe-pye weed attracts dozens of species of butterflies, including tiger swallowtails, monarchs, skippers, and azures. This late-summer bloomer is a charmer with its purplish, fluffy flowers and tall, purple-spotted stem. Flat-topped clusters 3-5” wide composed of hundreds of pinkish-purple flower heads bloom from July to September. Tends to be found in sunny and moist locations, such as wet prairies, marshes, sandy wetlands, and swampy thickets. Well-suited for rain gardens, near downspouts, or in wetter areas with rich soil.
Grows 3-6’ tall with a spread of 3-4’.
Prefers full to partial sun.
Best sited in rich, moist soils. Tolerant of water-logged conditions.
Lance-shaped green leaves are up to 7” long. Stems are sturdy and green or purple with purple spots.
Spotted Joe-pye weed is a host plant for 32 species of Lepidoptera, including Joe-pye weed borer moth, boneset borer moth, and clymene moth. It is highly attractive to many pollinators, including honey bees, bumble bees, long-horned bees, cuckoo bees, leaf cutter bees, the threatened rusty patched bumble bee, bee flies, butterflies, skippers, and moths. Leaf beetles feed on the plant, and an uncommon aphid, Aphis vernoniae, sucks the plant’s juices. Swamp sparrows will often feed on the seeds. The foliage may be browsed upon by deer, rabbits, or livestock.
Medicinal and Edible Uses:
Parts of Joe-pye weeds were used by Native Americans as a relaxant and to induce sweating to treat typhus fever.
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