The common name Justiceweed comes from the success for curing the bites of snakes and other poisonous animals by a John Justice of South Carolina in 1800, who people paid for the use of his recipe (Kress 2009). The species name leucolepis means white-scaled and refers to the white-haired bracts beneath the flower heads (Fernald 1950).
This plant has always been rare in New York. There are two existing populations, containing a few plants each. There are three known historical occurrences.
No recent surveys have been done to evaluate short-term trends.
This plant only ever had a few occurrences in New York and future trends will probably not change.
One population along a roadside is threatened by improper mowing regimes.
This species needs disturbance to reduce competition from woody plants or more aggressive herbaceous plants but too much direct disturbance to the plants will reduce or eliminate the population. Its habitat could be disturbed in the non-growing season to reduce competition to allow for seed germination and colonization but direct disturbance should be prevented during the growing season.
Research is needed to see if populations can be augmented where they exist.
The few known locations for this species in New York State have been weedy or shrubby margins of shallow pond shores, and in one case along an abandoned roadway (New York Natural Heritage Program 2010). Damp sands and peats of the coastal plain (Fernald 1970). Pine barrens, wet meadows, and margins of ponds, especially in sandy soil (Gleason & Cronquist 1991). Pine barrens, wet meadows, margins of ponds, sandy soils (FNA 2006).
This herb is currently known from the eastern end of Long Island in Suffolk County, and from a 1990 specimen on Staten Island where it has not been relocated.
This herb grows along the Atlantic and Gulf coastal plains from New York, where it is rare, south to northern Florida and west to eastern Texas. There are a few scattered inland populations in Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, and Tennessee south to the Gulf Coast.
Eupatorium leucolepis var. leucolepis is a perennial herb in the aster family growing 40 to 100+ cm tall. The stems are from stout rhizomes or short caudices, are sparsely branched distally, and puberulent throughout (more densely distally and among the flower heads). The leaves are sessile, mostly opposite (distal leaves sometimes alternate) ascending to vertical, 2 to 6 cm long and 0.4 to 1 cm wide. The leaf blades are folded along the midrib (the central vein), curved, and lance-oblong to linear-oblong in shape with acute tips, rounded bases, and pinnate nerves. Their margins may be entire or serrate, and are hairy and dotted with glands. The principal leaves have fascicles of much-reduced leaves emerging from their axils. The infloresence is of discoid flowers only, arranged into corymbiform (flat or round-topped) heads of 5 florets each. The corollas are white and 3-3.5 mm, and the calices form pappi of 30-40 bristles, 4 to 4.5 mm long. There are 8-10 phyllaries (involucral bracts) in 2 to 3 rows, each 2.5 to 8 mm long, acuminate to attenuate, and pubescent and gland-dotted on their outer (abaxial) sides.
Distinguishing characteristics: slender minutely gray-puberulent stem; leaves plicate, linear, or lanceolate, obtuse, cinereous-puberulent, larger leaves up to 1 (-1.3) cm wide, 1-nerved or with 2 faint lateral nerves arising from the base; involucre 5-7 mm long, the linear phyllaries tomentulose. Best life stage for ID: in flower or fruit. Characteristics needed to ID: stem with flowers or fruit.
Stems of flowering or fruiting specimens with leaves are necessary for identification.
Eupatorium album has wider leaves (mostly 1.5-3 cm wide versus 1 cm or less wide for E. leucolepis var. leucolepis) and involucres (8-11 mm wide versus 5-7 mm wide for E. leucolepis var. leucolepis). Eupatorium leucolepis var. novaeangliae, though not found in New York State, also has wider leaves (1 to 1.5 cm wide).
The time of year you would expect to find White-bracted Boneset vegetative, flowering, and fruiting in New York.
Eupatorium leucolepis var. leucolepis None
The variety name was dropped on June 14, 2000 to conform with Mitchell's New York State checklist; the other variety of this species does not occur in New York.
Flora of North America Editorial Committee. 2006. Flora of North America North of Mexico. Vol. 21. Magnoliophyta: Asteridae, Part 8: Asteraceae, part 3. Oxford Univ. Press, New York. xxii + 616 pp.
Fernald, M.L. 1950. Gray's manual of botany. 8th edition. D. Van Nostrand, New York. 1632 pp.
Gleason, Henry A. and A. Cronquist. 1991. Manual of Vascular Plants of Northeastern United States and Adjacent Canada. The New York Botanical Garden, Bronx, New York. 910 pp.
Holmgren, Noel. 1998. The Illustrated Companion to Gleason and Cronquist's Manual. Illustrations of the Vascular Plants of Northeastern United States and Adjacent Canada. The New York Botanical Garden, Bronx, New York.
Mitchell, Richard S. 1986. A checklist of New York State plants. Bulletin No. 458. New York State Museum. 272 pp.
New York Natural Heritage Program. 2010. Biotics database. New York Natural Heritage Program. New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Albany, NY.
New York Natural Heritage Program. 2023. New York Natural Heritage Program Databases. Albany, NY.
Weldy, T. and D. Werier. 2010. New York flora atlas. [S.M. Landry, K.N. Campbell, and L.D. Mabe (original application development), Florida Center for Community Design and Research http://www.fccdr.usf.edu/. University of South Florida http://www.usf.edu/]. New York Flora Association http://newyork.plantatlas.usf.edu/, Albany, New York
This guide was authored by: Stephen M. Young
Information for this guide was last updated on: September 6, 2012
Please cite this page as:
New York Natural Heritage Program. 2023. Online Conservation Guide for Eupatorium leucolepis var. leucolepis. Available from: https://guides.nynhp.org/white-bracted-boneset/. Accessed February 5, 2023.