Eutrochium purpureum is a perennial herb, to 2 m, stem solid (pith intact), slightly waxy (glaucous), purple at nodes internodes green.
Leaves in whorls of 3-4; 8-30 cm long, 2.5-15 cm wide, lance-shaped to egg-shaped, surface sometimes puckered, hairy below with minute yellow speckles (use hand lens) veins pinnate, margin coarsely, tip long-pointed, base pointed, margin sharply toothed, vanilla-scented when crushed.
Flowers pale pink-purple, 4-7 per head, bracteate base 0.7-0.9 cm, bracts narrow, oblong, overlapping inflorescence round-topped; blooms July-Sept.
Fruit dry, 1-seeded, 5-angled plumed achene, 0.3-0.5 cm long, wind dispersed. Seeds eaten by some birds (Martin et al. 1951).
Wetland status: UPL.
Frequency in NYC: Infrequent.
Habitat: Upland edges, roadsides, meadows, often in calcareous soil.