University of Maryland Extension: Plant of the Week
Text and photo by Ellen Nibali
Used as medicine by Native Americans, boneset is a plant that, once recognized, you see everywhere. Happiest in damp environments, it flourishes by roadsides with bone-white blooms from July until October.
Its fondness for moisture makes it a good candidate for rain gardens or any damp spot, but it is flexible and grows in full sun to some shade and any soil except very dry.
Its curious leaves clasp completely around the 1- to 5-foot stems, so the stem appears to “perforate” the leaves, hence its botanical name.
Its flowers attract many pollinators and dry up to fuzzy seed heads enjoyed by birds or blown away on a parachute of fine hairs. Boneset also spreads by perennial rhizomes. Not favored by deer.