June 22-28 is National Pollinator Week and one of New York State’s important pollinator friendly species is Joe Pye Weed (Eutrochium spp.), a native essential for any garden seeking to attract and help pollinators.
According to legend, Joe Pye was a Native American herbalist who used local plants to cure a variety of illnesses including typhoid fever. For years, it was unknown if Joe Pye was a real person or a botanical myth, that is until research confirmed the plant’s name originated from the nickname of Joseph Shauquethqueat, a Mohican chief who lived in Massachusetts and New York in the 18th and early 19th centuries.
There are several Joe Pye Weed species. All have tall leafy stems with flat or rounded heads of small but bountiful shadowy pink flowers. Joe Pye Weed are an attractive garden choice not just because of their popularity with bees and butterflies, but also because of their hardiness.
These tough perennial flowers can withstand a wide range of conditions including high summer temperatures and a lack of water. In ideal conditions, they do prefer slightly moist soils and in the wild they can often be found growing in wetlands. The flowers bloom in late summer when many other flowers begin to wane.
Celebrate National Pollinator Week by adding some native plants to your backyard or container garden. A list of native suggestions can be found on DEC’s website.
Photo of Joe Pye Weed by Danielle Brigida, Flickr.