Why Does Joe Pye Have a Plant Named After Him?

While walking along the Grand River near St. Jacob’s recently, I encountered a large quantity of Eutrochium maculatum.

(Eutrochium maculatum)

This plant grow well in marshes, meadows, wet prairies and fields, shores, bogs and fens and other wettish habitats.

(Eutrochium maculatum)

Curiously, the common name of this plant is Joe-pye-weed.

Joe-pye-weed (Eutrochium maculatum)

Joe Pye (or Jopi) was a Native American in the 1800’s. He used this perennial plant to cure typhus in the 1800’s. He was so associated with it that it began to be called Joe-pye-weed.

Joe-pye-weed (Eutrochium maculatum)

 This is a hardy perennial that blooms when many other plants are finished and it lasts until the first hard frost. When made into a tea, it has many health benefits.

Joe-pye-weed (Eutrochium maculatum)

The word “weed” has come to refer to plants which are undesirable. Clearly Joe-pye-weed is not a “weed” in this sense.

Joe-pye-weed (Eutrochium maculatum)

Other plants along the Grand River:

Canada Thistle (Cirsium pratense)
Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris)
Panicled Aster (Symphyotrichum lanceolatum)
Pinkweed (Persicaria pensylvanicum)
Himalayan Balsam (Impatiens grandulifera)
White Poplar (Populus alba)
Chicory (Cichorium intybus)
Water-hemlock (Cicuta maculata)
Himalayan Balsam (Impatiens grandulifera)
Himalayan Balsam (Impatiens grandulifera)
Water-hemlock (Cicuta maculata)
Flat-topped Goldenrod (Euthamia graminifolia)
Himalayan Balsam (Impatiens grandulifera)
Water-hemlock (Cicuta maculata)
Canada Goldenrod (Solidago canadense)
Giant Ragweed (Ambrosia trifida)
Nodding Bur-marigold (Bidens cernua)
Catnip (Nepeta cataria)
Panicled Aster (Symphyotrichum lanceolatum)
Canada Goldenrod (Solidago canadense)
Norway Maple (Acer platanoides)
Queen Anne’s-lace (Daucus carota)
Field Sow-thistle (Sonchus arvensis)
Great Burdock (Arctium lappa)
Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta)
White Vervain (Verbena urticifolia)
Tansy (Tanecetum vulgare)
Coneflower (Echinacea)

NATURE POETRY

Summer, fall, winter, spring,
The seasons rotate as each brings
Its special beauty to this Earth of ours.    – Edna Frohock (1906–1997)

Miles Hearn

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