Distinguishing Traits for Confusing, Urban-adapted Plants of Columbus, OH
Asters, boneset, and goldenrod are some late blooming, urban-adapted superstars that are hosts and nectar sources for a wide variety of native bees and insects. But identifying them can be difficult, especially since they bloom late in the season. Here’s some helpful guides to separating the native from the exotic in your back yard.
Compiled by Dave Tomashefski of the OSU Society for Ecological Restoration
The tall boneset (Eupatorium altissimum) has narrow leaves that lack leaf-stalks (i.e., the base of the leaf connects directly to the stem), whereas the white snakeroot (Ageratina altissima) has leaves with rather broad bases and rather long leaf-stalks. The late boneset (Eupatorium serotinum) is also very easily confused with white snakeroot. Due to similarities in leaf shape and the presence of leaf stalks on both plants, the most reliable way to tell the 2 plants apart is that the stems of late boneset are covered in a fine layer of hair, whereas the stems of white snakeroot are hairless or nearly so. They are all native plants that are beneficial to wildlife, though!
For more inspiration, watch this presentation on some special urban flowers that are great additions to your garden!