One of my favorite plants of late summer is the tall and tasseled titan Joe-Pye weed. This common name refers to a number of native species that often require an additional descriptive word to identify individuals, although many of us drop the descriptor and simply say “Joe-Pye weed.”

To clarify, my favorite of this group of plants is “sweet” Joe-Pye weed (Eutrochium purpureum), due to its preference for dry and shady sites, which is unique. Its large white to purple-colored composite flowers top tower stems in the late summer and continue their bloom period for about a month, becoming a popular pollinator stop. I’ve often noted its preference among late-season and migrating monarchs, not to mention a plethora of moth and bee species. In addition, it serves as a larval host to at least a half dozen native moths, making it a great plant for pollinators since it supports various life stages of these all-important insects.

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