Why did they name a weed after Joe Pye – and who is he, anyway? Joe-Pye Weed is now budding here and some of the plants have started to blossom early. Soon, many of our fallow fields will be covered with the plants’ purple haze, which butterflies and bees seem to prefer to garden fare.
The origin of the plant's name is a subject of debate, but virtually all researchers state that the major probability is that it refers to a Colonial-era Native American medicine man in Massachusetts named Joe Pye. Joe was known for using poultices of the plant to treat fevers, especially typhoid. The less popular theory is that the plant’s name is a corruption or phonetic spelling of Jopi, a Native American word for typhoid. (Brooklin, Maine)