Joe-Pye Weed

I first learned about Joe-Pye weed (Eutrochium purpureum or Eupatorium purpureum if you’re going by Linnaeus’s classification) on a weed walk in western Pennsylvania, just outside of Pittsburg. The guide told a fascinating story of how a healer named Joe Pye helped the native tribes learn how to break fevers and treat typhus with the plant, and it became named in his honor. The plant cuts a striking silhouette, and quickly became my touchstone on the site because it was so easily recognizable.

Joe-Pye weed has a multitude of names: Trumpet-weed, Gravelweed, Joe-pye Weed, Jopi Weed, Queen-of-the-Meadow Root (interesting since Meadowsweet is often called Queen of the Meadow), Purple Boneset, and Hempweed. Grieve cites it as being named after a king of Pontus, Mithridates Eupator, who first used the plant as a remedy (1931).

Because of its fever-reducing qualities, and its love of swampy places, I tend to associate Joe-Pye Weed with Water, and by extension the Moon and/or Venus. Cunningham does not give any elemental or planetary designations, but does say that it can be used in matters of love and respect (2003, 148). Since Eutrochium purpureum is native to North America, it’s not surprising that Hopman make no mention of it, through truthfully I raised an eyebrow that Beyerl does not include it in his herbal either.

Even though many plants connected with Venus, the Moon, and Water end up being feminine by default, there’s something about Joe-Pye Weed that just comes across as male. Working with Joe-Pye Weed straightens the spine and opens the heart. A leaf marked with a sigil for Mars or Jupiter will help one command respect, but still be aware of the needs of others. By the same token, mark the leaf with a sigil for Venus for a confidence boost on a date.