Thursday, August 6, 2009

A New Weed

Er... wildflower.

I wandered down to my section of the sunny utility valley this afternoon. I can only wander around the edges at this time of year. Without a machete or a big stick it is impenetrable. The end of summer growth is well above my head in places. One day I tell myself this will be a garden.

The dominant species that make up this tall meadow are Impatiens pallida, Jewel Weed, yes a five foot tall impatiens and Symphyotrichum novae-angliae, the New England Aster. There is plenty of Elderberry, Sambucus canadensis and the whole thing is tightly wrapped with Clematis virginiana which I have grown to hate due to its prolific nature. There is plenty more of course, but in the impenetrable condition that exists, it is hard to get a real grasp of the diversity.

I saw something new today which I have not seen anywhere else on the mountain top before. The flowers looked very much like the White Snakeroot, Ageratina altissima which has started blooming. That is where I began the search in the book "Wildflowers of North Carolina" and found it right off, right next to the Ageratina, (a PFKaE, Plant Formerly Known as Eupatorium).

This newly discovered wildflower is Eupatorium perfoliatum, Boneset. Somehow it managed to escape the tentacles of the overly vigorous Clematis and I was able to spot it in the crowd. I really like its sturdy form and the deeply textured and perfoliate leaves that completely surround the stem. Boneset has a long history of use as a medicinal herb. That is a good thing to know.

I just need to keep a mental map of where the Boneset is in the sunny utility meadow. One day I hope this entire space will be a garden. The first step is going to be some major editing. Killing off the Clematis and Impatiens would be a big start.


Les said...

Good luck getting rid of that clematis. I tried for several years just to kill one plant with no success. I have given in and now have decided I do want it and am much happier. Will your new garden in this spot be mostly natives?

Anonymous said...

I think I have read that Eupatorium can spread rapidly also. I have some (the one that's called "Chocolate"; can't remember species name) and it seeds a little bit, but not badly. Perhaps that would not be a disadvantage where you want it to be, however!


Anonymous said...

Rugosum; that's the species name. It just came to me. (God help me when I get older!)


Christopher C. NC said...

That is not encouraging Les. Though I already know getting rid of the clematis will be an ongoing battle. I'll be happy just to get the upper hand. The garden will be a mix with a high percentage of natives. They're here. They're free. Plus many are quite ornamental.

Bev your 'Chocolate' Eupatorium rugosum is the Ageratina altissima, the White Snakeroot. I don't know for sure which is the current name. I thought it was the Ageratina. There is a much darker leaved one here mixed in with the regular green that is the likely source of the 'Chocolate'. And lordy yes it spreads. In another week or so the entire ridgetop garden will be a waving sea of white.

Anonymous said...


I believe your name is the more current. Microbiologists and botanists are equally eager to completely change names of things on us; it's very aggravating. Thanks for the update.


Frances said...

Oooh, I love the new Eupa, good job on spotting it amidst the clemmie. We have that vine too and it is a scourge. You will need heavy machinery to make that wildness into something controllable methinks. :-)