|Joe Pye weed|
Who was Joe Pye? And why does he have a weed named in his honor?
This one has a bit of debate swirling around it, but according to one account, the plant is named for Joe Pye, a Native American medicine man who treated typhus (typhoid fever) with extracts made from this weed somewhere in the New England region, perhaps around the Massachusetts Bay Colony in the 1700s. Sadly, there is no one still alive from that era to verify the story.
Joe Pye weed is a monster perennial that can grow to be eight feet tall, year after year. This is no pansy. The mauve colored flower heads can become as large as a basketball, so big and heavy that the plant bends over under their weight.
Look for Joe Pye along the greenway to the Homesite.
- Story and photo by Stephen Lyn Bales