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Vernonia gigantea (Giant ironweed) | NPIN

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Vernonia gigantea (Giant ironweed)
Smith, R.W.

Vernonia gigantea

Vernonia gigantea (Walter) Trel.

Giant ironweed, Tall Ironweed

Asteraceae (Aster Family)


USDA Symbol: vegi

USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)

Tall erect stem bears deep purple-blue flower heads in loose terminal clusters.

The common name refers to the toughness of the stem. The genus name honors the English botanist William Vernon, who did fieldwork in North America. At least 6 additional species are found in the East; some were once used for treating stomach ailments.


Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Purple
Bloom Time: Aug , Sep , Oct


USA: AL , AR , DE , FL , GA , IA , IL , IN , KS , KY , LA , MD , MI , MO , MS , NC , NY , OH , OK , PA , SC , TN , TX , VA , WV
Canada: ON
Native Distribution: New York south to Georgia; west to Louisiana; north to Missouri, Illinois, and Michigan.
Native Habitat: Damp, rich soil.

Growing Conditions

Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist
Conditions Comments: Very adaptable, hardy.


Use Wildlife: Bees
Conspicuous Flowers: yes

Value to Beneficial Insects

Special Value to Native Bees

This information was provided by the Pollinator Program at The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Mt. Cuba Center - Hockessin, DE
* Available Online from Wildflower Center Store


* The Midwestern Native Garden: Native Alternatives to Nonnative Flowers and Plants An Illustrated Guide (2011) Adelman, Charlotte and Schwartz, Bernard L.

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Recommended Species Lists

Find native plant species by state. Each list contains commercially available species suitable for gardens and planned landscapes. Once you have selected a collection, you can browse the collection or search within it using the combination search.

View Recommended Species page

Additional resources

USDA: Find Vernonia gigantea in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Vernonia gigantea in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Vernonia gigantea


Record Modified: 2012-12-09
Research By: TWC Staff

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