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Vernonia lindheimeri (Woolly ironweed)
Flaigg, Norman G.

Vernonia lindheimeri

Vernonia lindheimeri A. Gray & Engelm.

Woolly Ironweed

Asteraceae (Aster Family)


USDA Symbol: veli3

USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

Woolly ironweed is a 10-30 in. high clump of gray-woolly stems and leaves. Flowers lack petals, but numerous lavender to purple disc flowers are arranged in showy, terminal clusters.

Not a rampant colonizer like some other members of this genus. Well behaved species.

This species is named after Ferdinand Jacob Lindheimer (1801-1879) who is often called the Father of Texas Botany because of his work as the first permanent-resident plant collector in Texas. In 1834 Lindheimer immigrated to the United States as a political refugee. He spent from 1843-1852 collecting specimens in Texas. In 1844 he settled in New Braunfels, Texas, and was granted land on the banks of the Comal River, where he continued his plant collecting and attempted to establish a botanical garden. He shared his findings with many others who shared his interest in botany, including Ferdinand von Roemer and Adolph Scheele. Lindheimer is credited with the discovery of several hundred plant species. In addition his name is used to designate forty-eight species and subspecies of plants. He is buried in New Braunfels. His house, on Comal Street in New Braunfels, is now a museum.


From the Image Gallery

36 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Size Notes: Up to about 30 inches tall.
Fruit: Fruit is a cypsela (pl. cypselae). Though technically incorrect, the fruit is often referred to as an achene.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Pink , Purple
Bloom Time: Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep


Native Distribution: In TX, on Edwards Plateau, rare in n.c. TX, also n. Mex.
Native Habitat: Open hillsides; roadsides; fields

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Dry
Soil pH: Circumneutral (pH 6.8-7.2)
Cold Tolerant: yes
Heat Tolerant: yes
Soil Description: Dry caliche. Clay, Clay Loam, Medium Loam, Sandy Loam.
Conditions Comments: Woolly ironweed has an upright form and the colorful, showy blooms are distinctive. Needs well-drained conditions. The leaf undersides feel and readily appear hairy, hence the name "woolly ironweed". Great, underused perennial for the garden and meadow.


Use Ornamental: Perennial garden, Pocket prairie, and can be used as a cut flower to enhance floral arrangements.
Use Wildlife: Good nectar source for many species of butterflies.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Attracts: Butterflies
Nectar Source: yes
Deer Resistant: High

Value to Beneficial Insects

Special Value to Native Bees

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


Propagation Material: Seeds
Seed Collection: Collect seed in fall when it comes loose easily.
Seed Treatment: Germinates well, and grows slowly but steadily.
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:

Fredericksburg Nature Center - Fredericksburg, TX
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - Austin, TX
NPSOT - Austin Chapter - Austin, TX

Herbarium Specimen(s)

NPSOT 0120 Collected June 20, 1991 in Bexar County by Lottie Millsaps
NPSOT 0288 Collected Aug. 21, 1992 in Kendall County by Kristina Coates

2 specimen(s) available in the Digital Herbarium


Bibref 355 - Landscaping with Native Plants of Texas and the Southwest (1991) Miller, G. O.
Bibref 318 - Native Texas Plants: Landscaping Region by Region (2002) Wasowski, S. & A. Wasowski
Bibref 328 - Wildflowers of Texas (2003) Ajilvsgi, Geyata.
Bibref 286 - Wildflowers of the Texas Hill Country (1989) Enquist, M.

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Web Reference

Webref 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

Additional resources

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


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

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