Wild quinine (Parthenium integrifolium) is an extremely tough perennial native to the entire eastern half of North America. Its preferred site has full sun and dry soil. It grows about 3′ tall, blooms from late June through fall, and is completely immune to pests and diseases. I love to mix it into my prairie gardens, because the extremely long-lasting white flowers make a wonderful contrast to the vivid yellows, pinks, and purples of most native perennials. While it’s not particularly show, it’s a useful cut flower, because the individual flowers are very long-lived.
According to the USDA Plant Guide, native Americans used the leaves of wild quinine to treat burns and the roots to treat dysentery. This is not a plant that spreads quickly, either by seed or rhizomes, although once established it is quite carefree. It is listed as threatened in several Midwestern states. It’s available from several reputable native plant nurseries, including Prairie Nursery. When you do your garden planning for next season, consider wild quinine as part of your native perennial garden.