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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.
From the Image Gallery
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial
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 InformationBloom Color: Purple
Bloom Time: Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep , Oct
DistributionUSA: 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: New York south to Georgia; west to Louisiana; north to Missouri, Illinois, and Michigan.
Native Habitat: Damp, rich soil.
Growing ConditionsLight Requirement: Sun , Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist
Conditions Comments: Very adaptable, hardy.
BenefitUse Wildlife: Bees
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Value to Beneficial InsectsSpecial Value to Native Bees
This information was provided by the Pollinator Program at The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.
National Wetland Indicator Status
From the National Organizations DirectoryAccording to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:
Mt. Cuba Center - Hockessin, DE
BibliographyBibref 1294 - 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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Web ReferenceWebref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter
Research LiteratureReslit 1343 - Phytotoxicity of Granular Formulations of Mesotrione, Pendimethalin + Dimethenamid-P and Sulfentrazone to Six Wildflowers (2009) R. H. Stamps and A. L. Chandler
This information was provided by the Florida WIldflower Foundation.
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Additional resourcesUSDA: Find Vernonia gigantea in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Vernonia gigantea in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Vernonia gigantea
MetadataRecord Modified: 2023-01-30
Research By: TWC Staff