Eupatorium perfoliatum (Common Boneset)

Plant Info
Also known as:
Family:Asteraceae (Aster)
Life cycle:perennial
Habitat:sun; moist fields, along shores
Bloom season:July - October
Plant height:2 to 4 feet
Wetland Indicator Status:GP: FACW MW: OBL NCNE: FACW
MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):Minnesota county distribution map
National distribution (click map to enlarge):National distribution map

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Detailed Information

Flower: Flower shape: 5-petals Flower shape: indistinct Cluster type: flat Cluster type: panicle

[photo of flowers, and a pollinator] Flat-topped branching clusters of stalked flowers at the top of the stem and arising from upper leaf axils, a cluster comprised of numerous small clusters of up to 15 disk flowers each. Flowers are about ¼ inch across, dull white, star-shaped with 5 triangular petal-like lobes. In the center is a brown column of stamens; emerging from the center of the colum is a 2-parted style that is white, flattened, long and string-like. The bracts around the base of a flower are in 1 or 2 layers, oblong, hairy and gland-dotted, light green but whitish at the pointed tip.

Leaves and stem: Leaf attachment: opposite Leaf attachment: whorl Leaf type: simple

[photo of leaves] Opposing leaves join around the stem so it appears the stem grows through one large leaf, occasionally leaves are whorled in 3s. Leaves are wrinkly, 4 to 8 inches long, up to 2 inches wide, tapering to a point at the tip, with small rounded teeth along the edges. Both surfaces are hairy and the underside is gland-dotted. Stems are erect, branched in the upper plant, and densely covered in long, spreading hairs.

Fruit: Fruit type: seed with plume

Fruit is a dry, black seed with a small tuft of hair to carry it off in the wind.


The leaf attachment makes Common Boneset easy to distinguish from other species with similar flowers.

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More photos

Photos by K. Chayka taken at Battle Creek Regional Park, Ramsey County. Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken in Anoka County and in a private garden in Lino Lakes.


Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?

Posted by: John - Chisago City on south Green Lake
on: 2014-07-10 16:12:19

Boneset is growing in our marsh, the roots and lower stems fully immersed in rising water, among Blue Vervain (Verbena hastata)and other marshy plants.

Posted by: Jonathan - Edina
on: 2015-06-19 20:00:20

I have a large common boneset growing in a seeded prairie patch about 20 feet from the shoreline of Indianhead Lake, in wet-mesic soil, full sun, surrounded by other prairie forbs and grasses.

Posted by: gary - Zim, MN
on: 2019-07-13 17:37:07

In the Zim, MN area on a trail through a fen. Dozens of plants.

Posted by: Susan Stanich - Along St. Louis River, Duluth
on: 2020-08-23 19:12:57

Abundant with bulrush and sneezeweed in unmowed moist areas in Chambers Grove Park, Hwys 23 nd 210.

Posted by: Ron Johannsen - Trenton Lake
on: 2021-07-25 18:06:31

Many in bloom now, fun to see with all the other prairie plants in bloom, real rainbow of color.

Posted by: Mary Ellis Hollenhorst - Rural Elysian, LeSueur Co.
on: 2022-08-11 11:42:22

Hundreds of plants in previously mowed pond setback. Moist rich soil. Heights exceeding 5 feet. Densely crowding out other native flowers. Very few bees or butterflies seen on flowers.

Posted by: john baldwin - isanti, cty
on: 2023-09-04 17:17:37

growing on waste area hillside by walkout on backside of our house.

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