Robert W. Freckmann Herbarium



Tribe 10b. HELIANTHEAE (s.l.) subtribe EUPATORIINAE - boneset subtribe

(EUPATORIEAE - boneset tribe)


(Source: Johnson and Iltis, 1963; Fernald, 1950; Gleason & Cronquist, 1991; FNA, 2006.)


1.   Leaves alternate; plants from a stout taproot or enlarged corm; achenes 10‑ribbed; pappus of plumose or barbellate bristles; phyllaries weakly or strongly ribbed.


2.  Plants from stout taproots; pappus plumose; phyllaries strongly ribbed; inflorescence corymbiform, the heads creamy-white

.........  BRICKELLIA - false-boneset.


2.  Plants from enlarged corms; pappus plumose or barbellate; phyllaries weakly ribbed; inflorescence spicate or racemose, the heads purple and often very showy

.........  LIATRIS - blazing-star.


1.   Leaves opposite or whorled; roots fibrous; achenes 5‑angled; pappus of capillary bristles; phyllaries not ribbed.


3.    Leaves in whorls of 3, 4 or 5; heads purple or dull rose; involucres cylindric with phyllaries in 5-6 series

.........  EUTROCHIUM - Joe-Pye-weed.


3.    Leaves opposite (rarely in 3's in E. perfoliatum); heads white (rarely purple in E. perfoliatum); involucres short-cylindric with phyllaries in 2-3 series.


4.  Leaves long-petioled, ovate; phyllaries nearly uniseriate, narrowly linear, any basal ones usually much less than half the length of the longest; heads with 15-30 florets; amber resin glands absent .

....  AGERATINA - throughwort, boneset.


4.  Leaves sessile (except E. serotinum) , narrowly ovate or lanceolate; phyllaries in 2-3 series, not narrowly linear, many roughly half the length of the longest; heads with 15 or fewer florets; tiny amber resin glands on leaf undersides, phyllaries, corollas, and achenes

....  EUPATORIUM - throughwort, boneset.





(s = 2x; x = 17)


........ Ageratina altissima var. altissima (E. rugosum) - white snakeroot.






(x = 10)


1.   Leaves long-petioled, scabrous-pilose, thickish; heads with 5 (2-7) florets; rare in S Wisconsin (s = 2x) .

...........  E. serotinum - late boneset.


1.   Leaves very short-petioled, sessile or perfoliate (their bases fused around the stem).


2.    Leaves attenuate to the winged petiole, broadest near middle, with 3 prominent veins beneath; plants pubescent; heads with 5 (3-7) florets; SW Wisconsin (s = 2x, 3x, 4x)

....  E. altissimum - tall boneset.


2.    Leaves sessile or perfoliate, broadest at the rounded base, not 3-nerved.


3.    Plants glabrous; leaves with very prominent white midrib beneath; heads with 5 (‑6) florets; S Wisconsin (s = 2x, 3x)

....  E. sessilifolium - upland or woodland boneset.


3.    Plants pubescent; leaves with midrib not very prominent beneath; heads with 7-11 florets.


4.    Leaves perfoliate; very common throughout (s = 2x)         

........  E. perfoliatum - common boneset, thoroughwort.


4.    Leaves sessile, not perfoliate; sporadic within perfoliate populations         

........  E. perfoliatum forma truncatum - common boneset, thoroughwort.



EUTROCHIUM - Joe-Pye-weed


(s = 2x; x = 10)


1.   Florets 8‑24 per head; stem purple throughout or purple spotted; inflorescence flat-topped; very common throughout, wet habitats

...........  E. maculatum - spotted joe-pye-weed.


1.   Florets (3‑) 5‑7 (‑9) per head; stem green, purple only at nodes, not spotted; inflorescence convex; dry woods

...........  E. purpureum - purple-node or green-stemmed joy-pye-weed.





(s = 2x; x = 9)


........  B. (Kuhnia) eupatorioides var. corymbulosa - false boneset.




LIATRIS - blazing-star, gay-feather


(x = 10)


(Plants intermediate between species L. spicata & L. pycnostachya and between species L. ligulistylis & L. aspera are known from SE and NW Wisconsin,



1.   Pappus barbellate, not plumose, the lateral cilia 3‑6 times the diameter of the bristle.


2.    Inflorescence a usually dense spike; heads sessile, small, the involucre 7‑11 mm long.


3.  Inflorescence rachis glabrous to pilose-hirsute; phyllaries obtuse, erect, appressed, the tips not reflexed, 7‑8 mm long; SE-most Wisconsin (s = 2x)

....  L. spicata - sessile or marsh blazing-star.


3.  Inflorescence rachis pilose-hirsute; phyllaries acute, the acuminate tips reflexed, 9‑11 mm long (s = 2x, 4x)

....  L. pycnostachya - prairie or thick-spike blazing-star.


2.   Inflorescence an open spike or raceme; heads larger, the involucre 9‑20 mm long.


4.  Inflorescence spicate, rarely racemose, heads sessile or with peduncles 1‑5 (‑10) mm long; corolla pilose within; involucres 9‑15 mm long; leaves scabrous to glabrous, the margins not harsh (s = 2x)

....  L. aspera - lacerate or rough blazing-star.


4.  Inflorescence a raceme, rarely spiciform, heads with peduncles (5‑) 8‑15 (‑30) mm long; corolla glabrous within; involucres 12‑20 mm long, the terminal head often much larger; leaves scabrous-pubescent, the margins harshly ciliate (s = 2x)

....  L. ligulistylis - northern plains or showy blazing-star.


1.   Pappus plumose, the lateral cilia 15 or more times the diameter of the bristle; heads cylindrical; phyllaries mucronate to acuminate, the margins ciliate.


5.  Inflorescence racemose, the heads 15‑60 flowered; bracts mucronate; leaves not crowded, more lax, weakly punctate, not ciliate, 9‑22 cm long, 3‑7 mm wide; dry prairies, southern Wisconsin (s = 2x)

.....  L. cylindracea - few-headed or cylindrical blazing-star.


5.  Inflorescence a dense to loose spike, the heads 3‑8 flowered; bracts acuminate; leaves crowded, rigid, conspicuously punctate, ciliate, 6‑15 cm long, 1‑2 mm wide; prairies of Pierce and St. Croix counties (s = 2x, 4x, 6x)

.....  L. punctata var. punctata (var. nebraskana) - dotted blazing-star.

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