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` Eupatorium cannabinum flore plena
Eupatorium cannabinum flore plena
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If the local constabulary comes nosing around your garden,  this is one plant that may get you in a little trouble.  Although there are many Japanese Maples that look more like Cannabis sativa than Eupatorium cannabinum, Linnaeus was not off base in granting the specific epithet cannabinum (resembling cannabis) to this easy to grow garden plant.

A European native,  its ranges extends to Northern Africa and Asia. 

In my garden,   Eupatorium cannabinum flore plena  blooms in mid Summer with a profusion of long lasting flat heads of double,  pinkish-magenta flowers.  I use it in the back of a sunny border and it always elicits comments. It's almost shrub like appearance and the attractive medium green foliage is quite imposing as it attains a height of 36" - 48"  with an almost equal spread. Give it some room as it reaches maturity over 2 - 3 years.  It  holds up well until the first freezes.  I grow it in full sun in a South facing border. Soil moisture and texture are average and its growth rate is quite vigorous.

Propagation is easy by cuttings taken before flowering when the growth is still somewhat tender,  but snaps when you bend it.  A mature clump will also produce many new divisions.  Best time to divide is early Spring before the underground buds elongate. If you want to grow it from seed,  you'll have an awfully long wait because it's sterile and doesn't produce any. This accounts for the long bloom period as there are no sexual parts to the floral structure,  they have all become petaloid, hence the double flowered moniker 'flore plena'

The genus Eupatorium is made up of more than 500 species Worldwide.  They are mostly herbaceous perennials,  some shrubs and rarely annuals. The name Eupatorium is said to be in honor of Mithridates Eupa who lived from 132-63 BC,  a Persian General who is reputed to have used plants in this genus medicinally and also magically to win several important battles against the Romans.   In these mountains the most prevalent is Eupatorium rugosum,  commonly known as   "White Snakeroot".   Dr. Dick Lighty,  former director of Mt Cuba Center in Greenville Delaware discovered a Eupatorium rugosum growing with bronze foliage and named it Eupatorium rugosum 'Chocolate'.  The contrast between the white flowers and the "Chocolate" foliage is quite striking.

There are many other species of Eupatorium in cultivation. Eupatorium fistulosum is one of the Eupatoriums that has been branded with the common name of "Joe Pye Weed"  There are several theories as to the origin of this common name.  One is that there was an Indian Medicine Man who lived in Colonial New England.  His claim to fame was that he travelled around curing people of Typhoid.  The Indian,  or to be politically correct,  Native American,   name for Typhoid is Jopi.  Ya get it??  Eupatorium fistulosum is normally a moisture loving creek bottom dweller.  It blooms late in the season with lovely pink flowers.  I have seen it attain heights of 8 foot plus in the happiest of conditions.  A cultivar named 'Bartered Bride' sports white flowers.  Eupatorium maculatum is a similar plant to the former and there is a compact form of it named 'Gateway'  that has become very popular.

Just the facts M'am:
Kingdom -
Phylum - Anthophyta
Class - Dicotyledonae
Order - Asterales
Family - Asteraceae
Genus - Eupatorium
Species - cannabinum
Form - flore plena
Synonyms - ?
Common name - genus - "Boneset",  "Thoroughwort"
Common name - species- "Hemp Agrimony"
Native of - Europe, Northern Africa,  Asia
Height - 36" -48"
USDA Hardiness Zone - at least 5,  maybe 3 or 4
Light preference - Full sun to light shade
Soil preference - Average
Moisture preference - Average
Bloom time - Mid Summer
Bloom color - Magenta
Foliage - Dark green,  Marijuana like.
Spread - 36"- 48"
Uses - Rear to mid border or as an accent plant.
Medicinal uses - None found for this particular species,  but,  Native Americans used Eupatorium purpureum to eliminate infection or disease through fever reduction, sweating, and bowel evacuation. They introduced the herb to the colonists, who adopted it to treat malaria and other diseases that cause fever. It also became popular during shortages of quinine, the main treatment for malaria at the time.

On the light side,  Laurence Hatch is a bit of a genius in my estimation,  not just in the plant world,  but in the Computer world also.  He teamed up with a couple of colleagues and has put together one of the most brilliant parodies of Plant names that you could ever imagine,  your first visit to: will have you ROTFL (rolling on the floor laughing) Enjoy!!!

A complete set of back issues of "Glick Pick of the Week" is available for the asking. If you would like me to send them, or if you would like to first see the list, send me an email. Also, if you're getting more than one copy of this weekly mailing, or would like to subscribe a friend, or for some crazy reason, to unsubscribe, let me know.

2000 Barry Glick and Sunshine Farm & Gardens

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Barry Glick, Sunshine Farm and Gardens
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Last modified February 25, 2020