Is Joe-pye a Weed?

Sneezeweed, Butterfly Weed, Ironweed, Milkweed, Joe-pye Weed–these are names European colonists assigned to the wildflowers they found growing in North America. Is it any wonder these native beauties have long been overlooked for gardens. The name Butterfly Weed gives us a clue that what to the early settlers was a “weed,” is a pollinator’s dream.

“What is a weed? A plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered.”

                                                     ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

For the past week, our blooming patch of six-feet-tall Joe-pye Weed has been covered in a bevy of butterflies including more Painted Ladies than ever I even imagined visiting our garden, dozens of newly emerged Monarch butterflies, Eastern Tiger Swallowtails, Question Marks, and thousands of bees.

The Eupatorium growing in the Harbor Walk Gardens is a lower growing species called ‘Baby Joe,’ and it too is as equally attractive to the pollinators.

Joey-pye Weed

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