Plant A Day – Spotted Joe Pye Weed

Spotted Joe Pye Weed Eupatoriadelphus maculatus

Spotted Joe Pye Weed
Eupatoriadelphus maculatus

Plants have way better names that birds.  Sometimes you have to dig deep to figure out how they got the name in the first place.  The names of a lot of plants evolved years ago and it’s hard to know for sure where they came from.

So, who was Joe Pye?  And, why did they name a weed after him?

A deep and thorough research (Bing) reveals two competing theories.  One is that there was a guy named Joe Pye who was a medicine man in the 1700’s who traveled around Massachusetts and used this plant to cure an outbreak of typhoid.  The other is that it is a derivative of the Indian word for typhoid – jopi.

The truth may be somewhere in the middle.

Note the whorl of leaves, sometimes 3, sometimes 4, but not usually any more than that.

Note the whorl of leaves, sometimes 3, sometimes 4, but not usually any more than that.

 

 

The flowerheads are somewhat flat-topped and have lots of flowers in each umbel.

The flowerheads are somewhat flat-topped and have lots of flowers in each umbel.

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