Vernonia fasciculata Prairie Ironweed
Native Wild Flower Seeds and Potted Plants
Easyliving Native Perennial Wildflowers
Home Landscaping and Prairie Restoration
photo by cj
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Vernonia Ironweed click for additional photo
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Prairie Ironweed potted plants
are NOT available
(Click here for Western Ironweed
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Prairie Ironweed seed
number of seeds
in square feet
packet - $2.50
1 ounce -
Vernonia = Named
for William Vernon, 17th century English botanist
fasciculata = banded or bundled
shipping chart at bottom of page
vivid purple flowers are effective when planted with the yellow flowers of Goldenrod in late
summer and fall. They are stunning as cut flowers but the leaves should be
discarded before arranging. It is a member of the Aster family, with
numerous 1/2 inch flower heads in rounded or flat topped branching clusters and a favorite nectar source for butterflies.
Vernonia fasciculata Prairie Ironweed plants are avoided by cattle and are often abundant in old fields and pastures.
humus rich soil in full sun at the back of a perennial garden on naturalize in a
meadow or prairie.
Ironweed is also known as Smooth Ironweed and Common ironweed
Native Vernonia fasciculata Prairie
Ironweed plants occur
prairies, glades, meadows, pastures, and along roadsides from
Dakota and Kansas South to Louisiana and East to New York.
Asteraceae (Aster family)
The map below shows
areas where native ironweed wildflower plants grow wild but it can be planted over most of the
Midwest and Eastern
US. Plant in USDA plant hardiness zones 3
the chart below for shipping charges on our native wildflower seeds
to order copy and mail the order
questions, comments and orders to firstname.lastname@example.org
email with your
zip code and number of plants
Vernonia Ironweed potted plants
for shipping charges and
availability on our native wildflower potted plants
We accept payment by check, money order, and through Paypal
The minimum seed order amount is $10, this can be a combination of different
Prairie Ironweed Ironweed Plant distribution map
complements of USDA, NRCS. 2001. The PLANTS Database, Version 3.1
(http://plants.usda.gov). National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA
working on this page
Prairie ironweed prefers full
sun and moist fertile soil but will grow in partial sun and slightly moister or
drier conditions. This plant can withstand occasional flooding for short periods
of time. The foliage is not grazed by cattle or bothered by pests or disease to
any significant extent.
Vernonia fasciculata is a native perennial unbranched plant 2 to 4 feet tall.
The central stem is round, hairless, and white, light green, or reddish purple.
The alternate leaves are up to 5" long and ½" across. They are
narrowly lanceolate, narrowly ovate, or linear. Their margins are serrated,
while the upper and lower leaf surfaces are hairless. The lower leaf surface
also has a prominent central vein, and black dots may be present. The leaves are
sessile against the stem, or they have short petioles. The central stem
terminates in a flat-topped cluster of magenta compound flowers (i.e., a corymb).
This flower cluster is quite dense, rather than loose and spreading. The
flowering stalks may be slightly pubescent. A compound flower consists of 15-30
disk florets with a short cylinder of green bracts underneath. These bracts are
appressed together like fish scales, and they are often slightly ciliate. The
cylinder of bracts spans about 1/5" across. A disk floret is magenta, with
5 spreading lobes and a prominent divided style. The blooming period occurs from
late summer to early fall, and lasts about a month. There is no noticeable
floral scent. The flowers are replaced by achenes that have a pappus of
hair-like scales. These achenes can be blown several feet from the mother plant
by gusts of wind. The root system is spreading and fibrous.
Prairie Ironweed is fairly common in the Midwest and Eastern US in prairies,
riverbottom prairies, marshes, sloughs along railroads, and edges of fields.
Prairie Ironweed is found in wetland habitats to a greater extent than other
species of Ironweeds.
The flowers attract long-tongued bees, butterflies, and skippers primarily.
Other visitors include bee flies and Halictid bees. These insects seek nectar,
although bees also collect pollen. Among the long-tongued bees, are such
visitors as bumblebees, Epeoline cuckoo bees, Miner bees, and large Leaf-Cutting
bees. An oligolectic bee of Ironweeds is Melissodes vernoniae. The
caterpillars of several moths feed on Ironweed, including Grammia parthenice
(Parthenice Tiger Moth) and Perigea xanthioides (Red Groundling).
Caterpillars that bore into the roots or stems of Ironweed include Papaipema
cerussata (Ironweed Borer Moth), Carmenta bassiformis (Eupatorium
Borer Moth), and some Polygrammodes spp. (Pyralid Moths). The bitter
foliage of Ironweed deters consumption by mamamalian herbivores – it is known
as an 'increaser' because it is one of the last plants to be eaten in overgrazed
Additional common names for Prairie Ironweed are Smooth Ironweed and Common
Ironweed. Prairie Ironweed is one of the smaller Ironweeds with a compact
inflorescence and smooth hairless leaves. Other Ironweed species have hairy
stems or leaves. An exception is Vernonia gigantea (Tall Ironweed), which
has hairless leaves and stems upon occasion. However, Tall Ironweed has a
spreading inflorescence, and it is usually a taller plant (as the name implies).
The larger leaves of Tall Ironweed exceed ½" across, while the leaves of
Smooth Ironweed are ½" or less. Some authorities state that Smooth
Ironweed has black dots on the undersides of the leaves, but this is not always
true. The species in this genus are occasionally difficult to identify because
they can hybridize with each other.