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how to harvest joe pye weed seeds

This variety looks quite a bit like Sweet Joe Pye Weed. However, it possess very broad hairy leaves and stems. This type grows naturally in the woods of the Appalachian Mountains.

Eupatorium purpureum is especially recommended for those wishing to attract and support Monarch butterflies. Other butterflies, especially those that gets attracted to Joe Pye Weed flowers include black swallowtails and Tiger swallowtails.

#4 – Hollow Stemmed Joe Pye Weed (Eupatorium Fistulosum)

Although this plant is not officially considered as invasive, it certainly can feel that way. It spreads quickly underground and sows it seed far and wide with the help of the wind.

Also, this plant provides an excellent backdrop for a perennial garden consisting of shorter types of self seeding annuals and/or a bulb garden.

Joe Pye weed leaves look quite narrow at the base and widen dramatically toward the center. The stem bears small purple spots, and the flowers show a dusty pink color.

Yesterday I spent an hour or so collecting woodland Joe Pye weed ( Eupatorium purpureum ). This species is relatively similar to the wetland Joe Pye weed ( E. maculatum ), but less colorful and better adapted to woodland areas. It is a strikingly tall species that has become established in those parts of our savannas which have more closed canopy (50% or even a bit more).

The best stands of E. purpureum are north of our North Fire Break, just before the steep drop off into the oak woodland. I used the Kawasaki Mule to get in there, and it was an enjoyable day, quiet and peaceful. I got two buckets full of seed heads.

Although the flower heads seem fairly dry, they still need to be dried a few days by spreading them out on a tarp. Once dry, the seeds must be cleaned before using. It is fairly easy to clean the seeds. Just put the flower heads on top of a piece of fairly course screening (available from a hardware store) and scrape them back and forth. The seeds fall through, and the empty stems can be thrown away. Store the seeds in a dry place in a grocery bag until time to plant.

While I was seed collecting, I was also keeping my eye out for small buckthorn that needed spritzing or basal barking. Fortunately, the buckthorns were fairly scattered here, and I proably only treated a couple dozen plants. I carried a spray bottle in my belt pack. We’ll be back in this area in the winter for more extensive buckthorn work. Hopefully, this will be a low snow year so that we can get some work done!

Some seeds like Milkweed and Oleander release their seeds from pods. They remind me of dandelion seed heads; full of unmanageable tufts that fly away when touched. For these types of seeds, I place a paper bag over the seed pods and shake the flower stalk to release the seed tufts.

Giant Alaska Marigold plant with dark seed head

Preparing Seeds

These are among my favorite seeds to collect. By collecting its seeds, we save a ton of money and the yard is always full of our favorite color each season. Is it sad to say it’s actually fun? Impatient seeds are harvested by pinching off the tender seed pods just before they are about to pop open. Place the pods in a tall, covered cup because they will pop open shortly after being removed, flinging seeds everywhere. The pods start off looking like tiny green bananas, and they gradually swell as the seeds mature. The seeds are dark brown when they are mature.

Four O’ Clocks produce a large, black seed which is surrounded and hidden by green 5 leaves just until it is about to fall off. The seed looks like a minature, black pinecone. If you have a large grouping of plants, set a try underneath them to catch seeds as they fall.

Oleander seed pods resemble Milkweed seed pods. The pods are 3 to 4 inches long and resemble overly ripe, skinny bananas. As soon asthe pods open, they seeds are ready to harvest. Place a paper bag over the seed head and give it a good shake.