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Vernonia gigantea ssp. gigantea (Giant ironweed)
Cressler, Alan

Vernonia gigantea ssp. gigantea

Vernonia gigantea (Walter) Trel. ssp. gigantea

Giant Ironweed, Tall Ironweed

Asteraceae (Aster Family)

Synonym(s): Vernonia altissima, Vernonia altissima var. lilacina, Vernonia altissima var. taeniotricha


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

A tall, clump-forming perennial, growing 5-10 ft. tall. Slightly rough stems bear lance-shaped, deep-green leaves. Small flower heads occur in loosely branched, terminal clusters. Flowers are all of the disc type and reddish-purple.


From the Image Gallery

3 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Size Notes: Up to about 10 feet tall.
Fruit: Fruit is a cypsela (pl. cypselae). Though technically incorrect, the fruit is often referred to as an achene.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Purple
Bloom Time: Jun , Jul , 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
Native Distribution: W. NY to e. NE, s. to SC, GA & LA
Native Habitat: Low, open woods; alluvial areas; prairies; marsh & swamp borders

Growing Conditions

Light Requirement: Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Wet
Soil Description: Moist to wet soils.


Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Attracts: Butterflies

Value to Beneficial Insects

Special Value to Native Bees

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


Commercially Avail: yes

From the National Organizations Directory

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

Longwood Gardens - Kennett Square, PA

Web Reference

Webref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.

Additional resources

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


Record Modified: 2023-01-30
Research By: TWC Staff

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