Native nectar plant ID

bob_71(z7 MD)September 14, 2012

I eliminated most of my nectar and host plants last year. The garden area's soil had been cultivated down to about 3' using mulched leaves and grass clippings for 30+ years and had a decaying layer of hardwood mulch on top. It became prime space for seeds of all types to settle down, and they did.

Among those that thrived was this late blooming 4'-5' well behaved plant that I chose to allow to grow. It has proven to be highly attractive to bees, butterflies and all other nectaring insects. The blooms are small but borne in clusters so that the whole head is rather large. In Maryland it bagan blooming in late August along with the Mistflowers. I see this plant growing in fields on the roadside. I hope some of you experienced members can ID this for me. I flunked in my efforts.

A close-up with a Locust Borer.

Foliage visible with a Painted Lady



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terrene(5b MA)

Possibly Eupatorium altissimum? I winter-sowed some of this 2 or 3 years ago, and it's out in a wild garden in a mish mash of native plants, including Eupatorium rugosum which also looks similar.

E. altissimum (don't know common name sorry) is supposed to be highly attractive to beneficials insects. Gotta check it out and see if it's blooming.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2012 at 7:55PM
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Bob, it may be late-flowering boneset, or Eupatorium serotinum, which ranges throughout the Eastern USA. It would be blooming now and atracts many insects. In fact, when I checked it out on that "other" forum, there was a photo of the same borer, as well as other butterflies, bees, etc.


Here is a link that might be useful: Eupatorium serotinum

    Bookmark   September 14, 2012 at 8:03PM
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bob_71(z7 MD)

You hit it dead-on! It says that the common name is Tall Boneset'

Thank you very much for your quick response.


    Bookmark   September 14, 2012 at 8:08PM
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bob_71(z7 MD)

susanlynne48, you are probably right based on the bloom cycle. The photos submitted seem to be identical. I think that both species would be "Tall Boneset", with the serotinum further identified as "Late-blooming".

Thanks, Bob

    Bookmark   September 14, 2012 at 8:17PM
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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

The various bonesets are all good nectar plants, Bob. They grow all over my meadows, and I'm glad to have them!


    Bookmark   September 14, 2012 at 9:41PM
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You can't really go by bloom time with these two(E. serotinum and E. altissimum). Both are listed as blooming in the late summer and early fall. Also I have noticed depending on where you are in the country, or state, or even in the meadow, the bloom time can be different. I will see some in full bloom on one side of the prairie and some on the opposite side just starting to open, or even done. Especially with this strange summer. We had Iron Weed blooming in june and into August. I would see completely dead flowers right next to a new bloom for months. Bizarre.

Anyhow, I would say E. altissimum. The main difference between the two is the serration of the leaves. E. serotinum has coarse serration whereas E. Altissimum has slight to none. However, I would need a closeup of a leaf to confirm.

Also, these plants get all kinds of common names in the field, tall boneset, tall thoroughwort, late boneset, late flowering thoroughwort, etc. It is enough to drive you crazy. I had been meaning to write down the ID of several of them to take into the field, so thanks!


    Bookmark   September 15, 2012 at 6:23PM
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P.S. nice shot of a locust borer! They are so pretty for such a destructive beetle.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2012 at 8:00AM
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bob_71(z7 MD)

Elisabeth, sorry that it has taken me so long to post leaf shots...I've been a little "under the weather".


    Bookmark   October 1, 2012 at 9:34AM
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Gosh Bob! This is a stumper. Tall Boneset (E. altissum)is supposed to have hairs on the leaves. However, late flowering boneset (E. serotinum) should have corsely serrated leaves. I am leaning towards E. serotinum however due to the lack of hairs and the sepals on the flowers. I am going to think about it a while. A good site to look at is Illinois wildflowers.

Here is a link that might be useful: Illinois wildflowers - late flowering boneset

    Bookmark   October 4, 2012 at 8:28PM
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