Wild Quinine (Parthenium integrifolium) Wild Feverfew Heirloom Medicinal Herb
Height 2- 3 ft
Wild Quinine, also known as wild feverfew, wild quinine, and eastern feverfew, is a species of flowering plant in the family Asteraceae; it is native to the eastern and midwestern United States. Wild Quinine is a perennial herbaceous forb.
There is a rosette of basal leaves up to 6" long and 4" wide on long petioles. From the middle of this rosette, a sturdy flowering stalk develops, which has smaller alternate leaves on short petioles. Usually there are erect side stems that each develop an inflorescence. An inflorescence consists of flat-headed clusters of small white flowerheads; usually, there are several of them bunched loosely together on the same plant.
Flowerheads are typically unscented and range about 1/3 in across, and consist primarily of numerous disk florets, and the few ray florets are greatly reduced in size and barely perceptible, with the overall effect similar to that of a head of cauliflower. Blooms from late spring to mid-summer, and lasts about 2 months. Eventually, the flowerheads turn brown, and the achenes develop without tufts of hair. The central taproot is quite thick and somewhat tuberous, and rhizomes promote the spread of this plant. Habitats include mesic black soil prairies, sand prairies, openings in rocky upland forests, savannas, scrubby barrens, limestone glades, and thickets.
Attractive to pollinators: bees, wasps, flies, beetles, and plant bugs. The beetles usually feed on pollen, while the other insects seek nectar primarily. The fly visitors include Syrphid flies, Tachinid flies, Flesh flies, Muscid flies, Anthomyiid flies, and others. Wasp visitors include Crabronine wasps, Eumenine wasps, Cuckoo wasps, Braconid wasps, and others. deer and rabbits ignore this plant because the leaves are sandpapery in texture and bitter-tasting.
Wild Quinine has a long history of medicinal use by Native Americans and the US Army. During World War I, wild quinine was used as a substitute for the bark of the Cinchona tree, the active ingredient of quinine used to treat malaria
- Sun to part shade
- Start seeds indoors at least 5 weeks prior to last frost. Mix seed with a slightly moistened soil mix. Place in a sealed plastic bag and store in the fridge for one day. Then place in the freezer for one day. Repeat this process for one week alternating from fridge to freezer. After stratifying, plant seeds 1/8 in deep in pots. Keep moist but not soggy and place in warm area 21 C or 70 F . When seedlings are 2 inches tall transplant outdoors after all risk of frost has passed.
- OR direct sow outdoors in late fall; plant seeds 1/8 in deep. Water in lightly.
- Spacing: 1 ft apart.
- Seed Count: 20