A tough native perennial known as common boneset may not work in a formal garden bed — too weedy looking — but you’ll surely come to appreciate it as one of the few plants in your yard still in bloom in mid- to late October.
And it’s a favorite of late-season butterflies, hummingbirds and bees still on the prowl for the nectar its small white flowers provide.
(Boneset blooms this week in the Nyack Garden Club’s Butterfly Garden in Memorial Park.)
This perennial herb has medicinal value, too, and was a favorite of American Indians and early herb doctors who used its leaves to wrap bandages around splints for broken bones and as a tea to treat coughs and digestive problems.
Known botanically as Eupatorium perfoliatum, boneset likes moist soil and full sun to partial shade.
It has leaves with a wrinkled texture that rise in pairs along a cylindrical hairy stem that grows to 3 to 4 feet tall over the course of the summer. The white flowerheads appear in fall.
In the wild, you’ll likely see boneset in low meadows and swampland. If you’ve got a spot in your yard with other wildflowers, it would certainly be a good addition.