Hollow-stem joe-pye-weed (Eutrochium fistulosum), a perennial member of the sunflower family (Asteraceae) native to the eastern and south central United States, has been named the 2017 North Carolina Wildflower of the Year by the North Carolina Botanical Garden and the Garden Club of North Carolina, Inc.
From mid-summer through early fall, hollow-stem joe-pye-weed comes into full glory with dramatic clouds of large domed flower heads composed of many tiny nectar-rich, mauve-pink flowers that attract multitudes of butterflies, bees, wasps and other nectar-feeding insects.
In the wild, hollow-stem joe-pye-weed can be found in moist woods, bogs, meadows, marshes and roadside ditches, and it can grow up to eight feet tall. In average to wet soil and full to filtered sunlight, it can serve as an impressive and pollinator-friendly member of a home garden landscape.
Its hollow stems distinguish it from other joe-pye-weed species. Legend has it that “Joe Pye” refers to the Christian name taken on by Mohegan sachem and healer Shauquethqueat, who purportedly used infusions of the plant to treat typhus in 18th century Massachusetts.
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For a Wildflower of the Year brochure and packet of hollow-stem joe-pye-weed seeds, send a stamped, self-addressed, business envelope with attention to NCWFOY 2017 to North Carolina Botanical Garden, UNC–Chapel Hill, CB 3375, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3375.
The NCBG and the Garden Club of North Carolina work together to promote the use of native plants in home gardens. Each year since 1982, a showy, native perennial has been chosen and seeds of that wildflower have been distributed to interested gardeners. To view a list of the past 35 North Carolina Wildflowers of the Year, visit the Garden’s website: ncbg.unc.edu/north-carolina-wildflower-of-the-year