Eutrochium purpureum is morphologically variable and is known to hybridize with all other species in the genus. Historically, more than a dozen infraspecific taxa have been recognized; the extent of intergradation and the lack of correlation among varying traits tend to make recognition of more than two varieties impractical[
Cunigunda purpurea (L.) Lunell
Eupatoriadelphus purpureus (L.) R.M.King & H.Rob.
Eupatorium falcatum Michx.
Eupatorium fuscorubrum Walter
Eupatorium harnedii Steele ex Harned Steele ex Harned
Eupatorium holzingeri Rydb.
Eupatorium laevigatum Torr.
Eupatorium purpureum L.
Eupatorium trifoliatum L.
Common Name: Gravel Root
Eupatorium purpureum is an erect, herbaceous perennial plant producing a clump of stems that can grow from 30 - 200cm tall[
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a food, medicine and source of materials. It is sometimes cultivated as a medicinal plant in Russia.
Eastern N. America - Minnesota to New Hampshire, south to Oklahoma, Louisiana and Florida
Rich, open deciduous woodlands, woodland borders, and thickets, wooded ravines, near bases of slopes bordering wet grounds, partial or deep shade; at elevations up to 1,200 metres[
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Succeeds in ordinary garden soil that is well-drained but moisture retentive in sun or part shade[
]. Plants can be grown in quite coarse grass, which can be cut annually in the autumn[
A very cold-hardy plant, tolerating temperatures down to about -25°c[
The bruised leaves have a vanilla-like odour[
Plants seem to be immune to the predations of rabbits[
Butterflies are attracted to this plant[
The roots have been burnt and their ashes used as salt to flavour foods[
Gravel root was used by the native N. American Indians as a diaphoretic to induce perspiration and break a fever. The plant was quickly adopted by the white settlers and still finds a use in modern herbalism[
The whole plant, but especially the root, is astringent, diuretic, nervine and tonic[
]. It works particularly on the genito-urinary system and the uterus[
]. Especially valuable as a diuretic and stimulant, as well as an astringent tonic[
], a tea made from the roots and leaves has been used to eliminate stones from the urinary tract, to treat urinary incontinence in children, cystitis, urethritis, impotence etc[
]. It is also said to be helpful in treating rheumatism and gout by increasing the removal of waste from the kidneys[
]. The leaves and flowering stems are harvested in the summer before the buds open and are dried for later use. The roots are harvested in the autumn and dried for later use[
The stems have been used as straws[
]. The stems are usually solid, rarely more or less hollow near the base[
The fruits yield a pink or red textile dye[
An extract of the stems, leaves and flowers is used as an ingredient in commercial cosmetic preparations as an emollient, skin conditioner and tonic[
Seed - sow spring in a cold frame and only just cover the seed. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and plant them out into their permanent positions in the summer.
Division in spring or autumn[
]. Very easy, the clumps can be replanted direct into their permanent positions.