Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Joe Pye Weed

A real focal point in my garden now is Hollow Stem Joe Pye Weed, Eupatorium fistulsum. I bought two years ago from Forest Farm which I love because of their selection of plants, but wouldn't recommend because they gouge you up the *** with shipping! Thankfully Prairie Nursery sells them for much cheaper. I suppose buying 4 of them is a good deal, but look at how big just one plant gets. I believe it reproduces by rhizomes too. So you're getting a lot for your money. I actually want to plant more of these in the yard.

I love this plant for a lot of reasons. Firstly, I found my first swallowtail of the year on one. The Eastern Tiget Swallowtail, Papilio glaucus. I only wish it staid around for more than 5 seconds. That was the one and only picture I was able to get.

Another reason to love this plant is the slight madicinal fragrance it produces. It's at it's peak right as the afternoon shade hits it. I've noticed it doesn't always produce it though so perhaps there are other factors. It's nice all the same though.

Bees love this plant. Very little is blooming in late summer compared with other seasons. Asters and Goldenrod are good alternitives but not all Asters get a lot of attention, and Goldenrod is more of a fall plant. Joe Pye Weed though is just right. It blooms just in time for migratory butterflies too.

The flowers aren't the prettiest thing in the world upclose. Really it's just some hairy tendrals poking out of bud that looks barely opened. It has a lot to in common with Liatris which are also blooming here and there all around.

I'm seeing this curious bee showing up at the plant too. I want to say it's a bumblebee ... but it's lost a lot of hair, and hardly has any yellow on it. Might be Psithyrus ashtoni, a bumblebee but still a social parasite of other Bombus species. (note Psithyrus might be known as Bombus now, I'm not up on bee taxonomy.)