Common boneset

Prepared by Jennifer L. D’Appollonio, Assistant Scientist, University of Maine, Orono, ME 04469. Updated February 2018.

Scientific name: Eupatorium perfoliatum L.

Common name(s): common boneset, boneset, boneset thoroughwort

Links: USDA PLANTS Profile, NPIN Profile, Go Botany

Images: (to see enlargements [PC]: click on image, then right click and choose “view image”)


– perennial



  • 2-4 feet tall

-hairs on the central stem

-opposite leaves

-fibrous roots

-spreads with rhizomes

– observed flowering in July-August and fruiting in October in ME


-moist organic soil

-full to partial sun



-nectar attracts pollinators

-Seeds ripen about a month after flowering

-propogation by:

  • division
  • two-node softwood tip cuttings taken in late spring

-not commonly grazed by livestock

-leaves are favored by:

  • grasshoppers
  • flea beetles
  • saw flies

Natural History:

-medical uses include:

  • treating dengue fever
  • immune system stimulant
  • diaphoretic
  • laxative in large does


USDA. “COMMON BONESETEupatorium Perfoliatum L.” Plant Fact Sheet, National Plant Materials Center, Beltsville, MD , Nov. 2008,

Taken from an article, no longer available online, from Native Haunts