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threatened and/or endangered

New York Ironweed Vernonia noveboracensis


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New York Ironweed
credit: SB_Johnny/CCSA

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Family: Asteraceae, Aster view all from this family

Description Upright, coarse, leafy plant with abundant starry purple flowers in the fall.
Habit: native perennial herb; tall and structural; several stiff stems, branching at the top; spreading or clump-forming.
Height: 2.5-8 ft (0.8-2.5 m) or more.
Leaf: dark green, alternate, lanceolate, pointed, rough; very finely serrated; all leaves are on the stem; 3.5-10 in (90-250 mm) long, 0.5-2.5 in (15-25 mm) wide or larger.
Flower: small rounded flowerhead, rose to violet, 1/2-3/4 in (12-18 mm) wide, on a cup of bracts; tubular rays tipped with tiny purple anthers; no disk; held in flat-ish terminal cluster, 3-5 in (75-130 mm) wide.
Fruit: dry seed, rust colored, 3/16 in (4 mm) long; tipped with purple bristles.

Flower August to October.

Flower August - September

Habitat Wet fields, low wet woods, fresh water marshes, roadsides, stream banks, moist thickets, pastures, hay fields.

Range Native to eastern U.S., from New York and New Hampshire, south to Florida and Alabama; east to Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee; at 30-2000 ft (10-600 m); also cultivated as an ornamental.

Discussion Also known as: ironweed, common ironweed, flat top. Threatened or endangered in Kentucky and Ohio. Considered weedy or invasive in some areas. The stems persist through the winter, which may account for the common name. Attractive to butterflies.

Exposure Preference Sun.

Native Distribution Massachusetts to Ohio, s. to Georgia & Mississippi; more common near the coast

Site Preference Moist meadows, pastures & roadsides

Soil Preference Moist soils. pH 5-6