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Title: Eupatorium  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Eupatorieae, Eupatorium sessilifolium, Boneset, Pappus (flower structure), Eupatorium capillifolium
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Eupatorium cannabinum
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Asterales
Family: Asteraceae
Subfamily: Asteroideae
Tribe: Eupatorieae
Genus: Eupatorium
L. 1753 not Bubani 1899 (Rosaceae)[1]

Eupatorium is a genus of flowering plants in the aster family, Asteraceae, containing from 36 to 60 species depending on the classification system. Most are herbaceous perennial plants growing to 0.5–3 m tall. A few are shrubs. The genus is native to temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere. Most are commonly called bonesets, thoroughworts or snakeroots. The genus is named for Mithridates Eupator, king of Pontus.[3]


  • Systematics and taxonomy 1
  • Uses 2
    • Medical use 2.1
  • Selected species 3
    • North America 3.1
    • Europe 3.2
    • Asia 3.3
    • Moved to other genera 3.4
  • Footnotes 4
  • References 5

Systematics and taxonomy

Eupatorium has at times been held to contain as many as 800 species,[4] but many of these have been moved (at least by some authors) to other genera, including Ageratina, Chromolaena, Condylidium, Conoclinium, Critonia, Cronquistianthus, Eutrochium, Fleischmannia, Flyriella, Hebeclinium, Koanophyllon, Mikania, and Tamaulipa.[5]

The classification of the tribe Eupatorieae, including species placed in Eupatorium in the present or past, is an area of ongoing research, so further changes are likely. What seems fairly certain by now is that there is a monophyletic group containing Eupatorium (about 42 species of white flowered plants in North America, Europe and Asia, but not South America) and the Joe-pye weeds (Eutrochium), and possibly others.[6]


Eupatorium are grown as ornamental plants, in particular in Asia.[7] A number of popular ornamental plants formerly included in Eupatorium have been moved to other genera, such as Bartlettina and Conoclinium.

Tobacco leaf curl virus is a pathogen occasionally affecting plants of this genus. The foliage is eaten by some Lepidoptera larvae, including those of Orthonama obstipata (The Gem).

Medical use

The common names for the plants are all based on the previous usage of one species, Eupatorium perfoliatum, as an herbal medicine. Despite its name, boneset is not used to treat broken bones,[8] instead the common name apparently derives from the herb's use to treat dengue fever, which was also called breakbone fever because of the pain that it caused. The name thoroughwort also comes from Eupatorium perfoliatum, and refers to the perfoliate leaves, in which the stem appears to pierce the leaf (i.e. go through, note that in older usage "thorough" was not distinguished from "through", compare for example the word thoroughfare).

Boneset, although poisonous to humans and grazing livestock, has been used in folk medicine,[9] for instance to excrete excess uric acid which causes gout. Caution is advised when using boneset, since it contains toxic compounds that can cause liver damage. Side effects include muscular tremors, weakness, and constipation; overdoses may be deadly.

Selected species

Hemp-agrimony, Eupatorium cannabinum
Common Boneset, Eupatorium perfoliatum

North America



Moved to other genera


  1. ^ Tropicos search for Eupatorium
  2. ^ Flann, C (ed) 2009+ Global Compositae Checklist
  3. ^ Gledhill, David (2008). The Names of Plants (4 ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 159.  
  4. ^ Whittemore (1987)
  5. ^ King, R. M. and H. Robinson. 1987. The genera of Eupatorieae (Asteraceae). Monographs in Systematic Botany, Missouri Botanical Garden 22: 1-581.
  6. ^ Ito et al. (2000), Schmidt & Schilling (2006)
  7. ^ SASAKI YOHEI, MATSUMOTO ATSUSHI, TAKIDO MICHIO, YOSHIMURA MAMORU, NAGUMO SEIJI (2006). """Study on Eupatorium Plants Called "Fujibakama. Japanese Journal of Pharmacognosy 60 (1): 15–20.  
  8. ^ [2]
  9. ^ Sharma et al. (1999)
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai Schmidt & Schilling (2000)
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v "Eupatorium". Flora of North America. 
  12. ^ Kunsiri Chaw Siripun and Edward E. Schilling (2006). "Molecular confirmation of the hybrid origin of Eupatorium godfreyanum (Asteraceae)". American Journal of Botany 93 (2): 319–325.  
  13. ^ Schilling, Edward E.; Leblond, Richard J.; Sorrie, Bruce A.; Weakley, Alan S. (2007). "Relationships Of The New England Boneset, Eupatorium Novae-Angliae (Asteraceae)". Rhodora 109 (938): 145.  
  14. ^ DL Byers (1998). "Effect of cross proximity on progeny fitness in a rare and a common species of Eupatorium (Asteraceae)". American Journal of Botany 85 (5): 644–653.  
  15. ^ a b c d e f "Eupatorium". Digital Flora of Taiwan. 
  16. ^ "Eupatorium Linn.". Dinghushan Plant Checklist. 
  17. ^ a b "Asteraceae Tribe Eupatorieae (Draft)". Flora of China. Retrieved 2009-12-01. 
  18. ^ "Eupatorium collinum". 
  19. ^ "Eupatorium collinum". Henriette's Herbal. 
  20. ^ Database entry Ayapana - Ayapana triplinervis - Ayapana - Eupatorium ayapana - Ayapana - Eupatorium triplinerve
  21. ^ Fine Chem Trading (ChemFinder - UK) - Supplier MS8888
  22. ^ "Eupatorium ligustrinum DC.". United States Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service, Beltsville Area, Germplasm Resources Information Network. 
  23. ^ "Eupatorium sordidum Less.". USDA PLANTS. 
  24. ^ Webb, C.J.; Sykes, W.R.; Garnock-Jones, P.J. (First electronic edition, Landcare Research, June 2004). "B. sordida". Flora of New Zealand. Retrieved 2008-01-28. 


  • Hatfield, Gabrielle (2004): Encyclopedia of Folk Medicine: Old World and New World Traditions. ABC-CLIO, Inc., Santa Barbara. ISBN 1-57607-874-4
  • Ito, Motomi; Watanabe, Kuniaki; Kita, Yoko; Kawahara, Takayuki; Crawford, D.J. & Yahara, Tetsukazu (2000): Phylogeny and Phytogeography of Eupatorium (Eupatorieae, Asteraceae): Insights from Sequence Data of the nrDNA ITS Regions and cpDNA RFLP. Journal of Plant Research 113(1): 79-89. doi:10.1007/PL00013913 (HTML abstract)
  • Lamont, E.E. (1995): Taxonomy of Eupatorium Section Verticillata (Asteraceae). New York Botanical Garden Press. ISBN 0-89327-391-0
  • Longe, Jacqueline L. (2005): The Gale Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine (2nd ed., vol. 1). Gale Group, New York. ISBN 0-7876-7424-9
  • Schmidt, Gregory J. & Schilling, Edward E. (2000): Phylogeny and biogeography of Eupatorium (Asteraceae: Eupatorieae) based on nuclear ITS sequence data. Am. J. Bot. 87(5): 716-726. PMID 10811796 PDF fulltext
  • Sharma, Om P.; Dawra, Rajinder K.; Kurade, Nitin P. & Sharma. Pritam D. (1999): A review of the toxicosis and biological properties of the genus Eupatorium. Natural Toxins 6(1): 1–14. doi:10.1002/(SICI)1522-7189(199802)6:1%3C1::AID-NT3%3E3.0.CO;2-E (HTML abstract)
  • Whittemore, Alan (1987): The Sectional Nomenclature of Eupatorium (Asteraceae). Taxon 36(3): 618-620. doi:10.2307/1221856
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