Tom's Blog

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Kuhnia (false boneset) in flower

Kuhnia eupatorioides (false boneset) is a typical dry prairie species that is just starting to flower. We find it at Pleasant Valley Conservancy primarily on the south-facing slope where it seems to thrive on these prairie remnants. (An alternate genus name is Brickellia.)

It is called false boneset because it resembles to some extent tall boneset (Eupatorium altissimum). However, false boneset has alternate leaves whereas tall boneset has opposite leaves. Also, false boneset has tan-colored flowers whereas tall boneset has whitish flowers. An interesting fact is that the colors of the seeds of these two species are reversed. False boneset has grayish seeds whereas tall boneset has tan-colored seeds.

False boneset is common on dry prairies, steep calcareous bluffs, and rocky to sandy prairie remnants. This is a strictly eastern or southern species, and reaches Wisconsin mainly on the southern and western part of the state, mostly in the Driftless Area. A minor fact is that the name Kuhnia comes from an Adam Kuhn, who brought the plant to Linnaeus from the Western Hemisphere.


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