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Coastal Plain Joe Pye Weed vs Trumpetweed

These plants are sometimes confused where their ranges overlap in southern New England through the Mid-Atlantic. They are easily distinguished by their stems and leaf vein pattern, and often also by height or number of leaves per whorl. E. dubium is limited to moist, acidic soil, mostly coastally, whereas E. fistulosum inhabits a broader range of wet, disturbed areas and is more common farther inland.

Coastal Plain Joe Pye Weed (Eutrochium dubium)

Trumpetweed (Eutrochium fistulosum)

A perennial of moist, sandy, acidic soils native to the coastal plain from New England south through South Carolina.
A tall perennial of moist sites, native to the eastern and southeastern U.S; the tallest Eutrochium.
Much shorter, usually only to 4 feet, rarely to 5.5 feet in height.
Photo © Matt Schenck, CC BY 4.0.
Averages much taller, commonly to 9 feet, rarely to 11.
Photo © Nate Martineau, CC BY 4.0.
Stem is purple-spotted against green background, not glaucous.
Photo © Becky, Public Domain.
Stem purple throughout, strongly glaucous (covered with whitish, waxy coating.)
Photo © Lydia B, CC BY 4.0.
Stem not hollow, filled with solid pith.
Photo © Becky, Public Domain.
Stem hollow, with large central cavity.
Photo © Ken Kneidel, Public Domain.
Leaves tend to have a triple-veined appearance, with two side-veins originating near the base tending to extend quite a ways towards the tip.
Photo © Becky, Public Domain.
Leaves lack a triple-veined appearance; side veins near the leaf base are short and end near the leaf margin.
Photo © mefisher, Public Domain.
Leaves in whorls of 3-4.
Photo © Becky, Public Domain.
Leaves in whorls of 4-7, sometimes even 8.
Photo © Mason Heberling, CC BY 4.0.
Inflorescences average darker purple.
Photo © Matt Schenck, CC BY 4.0.
Inflorescences may be purple, but average lighter, and can be pink or closer to white in color.
Photo © Baruch Tauber, Public Domain.