Welcome to the Kentucky Native Plant and Wildlife Blog.

Welcome to the Kentucky Native Plant and Wildlife Blog.
The purpose of this blog is to provide information on using native plants in the landscape, issues related to invasive exotic plants, urban wildlife management, and wildlife damage management. It is my intention that this information will assist you in deciphering the multitude of information circulating around the web and condense in some meaningful method as it relates to Kentucky. In addition, I hope to highlight a native plant that can be used in the landscape.



Friday, November 23, 2012

Plant of the Week: Boneset (Eupatorium perfoliatum)


Boneset is butterfly magnet in late summer and early fall.  It is especially attractive to small butterflies like the hairstreaks (great purple shown above), checkered white (shown above) and the sulfurs.  The flowering period coincides with the period where several rare to uncommon butterflies appear like the White-M hairstreak.  It is a bit of a weedy species and escapes around the yard but it can be controlled by deadheading and pulling young seedlings. I can not tell you how many different species of butterflies I have photographed nectaring on this plant but it is substantial.  Boneset is kind of a wetland plant that can grow to 4' tall and can have some smallish branches arising from the primary stem.  Each individual plant has many flowering heads and many flowers in each individual head.  It gets it's name perfoliatum from the perfoliate leaves where the two 4-8" long tapered leaves appear to be perforated by the stem.  The leaves have sharp tooted edges and are quite rough to the touch.  The flowers have an aroma that is slightly aromatic and the leaves are quite astringent and bitter.  This plant has been considered for its medicinal uses for quite some time.  It is listed in the United States Pharmicopia and has been used as a stimulant, laxative, and mostly as a febrifuge.  It acts quite slowly over time and is a mild tonic when taken over time in small to moderate doses and as an emetic or purgative when taken in large doses.  It is often used to fight colds and fever and one standard recipe is to infuse 1 oz dried herb to 1 pint boiling water and served hot at a rate of about 1 wineglass full per hour. There are significant issues related to the long term use of this herb as it has been shown to damage the liver because of the type of alkaloids present in the plant.  As with all herbal medicines, you should consult your doctor and pharamcist before taking any to ensure there are no side effects or drug interactions.
 

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