"There are two versions of how the joe-pye weed got its name. The most common one traces it to a 18th Century Native American medicine man named Joe Pye, who traveled the length of New England treating fevers — typhoid fever in particular — with an infusion made from the plant’s leaves. The other story asserts that joe-pye is a corruption of the Native American word for typhoid, jopi". (From The Field Notebook: field-notebook.com)
Joe Pye Weed prefers more moisture than my garden normally provides, so I have "cheated" a bit by placing it next to my neighbors sprinkling system (located on the other side of the fence). This is the third location I have tried with this particular plant, and it seems to be happy. It is about 4 feet tall here. It can grow several feet taller in the wild.
It is a great favorite with insects. I'm awaiting an identification of this beautiful beetle from Bugguide.net.
More on the bumblebee to follow!