Vineyard Purple

Joe-Pye Weed is blooming around the swamps and streams and in the moist woodlands of the Vineyard, a certain sign of late summer. An Eastern North American native, there are three varieties: coastal plain, spotted and hollow. Of course the coastal plain variety is found most commonly on the Island.

Ranging in color from pink to purple, its feathery foliage is attractive to bees and butterflies and lasts long into the autumn. It is considered both an herb and a wildflower and has long been used as an ornamental plant in English cottage gardens. It is named for a Native American herbalist who used it to cure fevers.

But for Islanders in early August, Joe Pye Weed is simply pretty, both in summer bouquets and in the wild, standing tall in a tangle of orchard grass gone to seed.