Verbesina alternifolia

Species Native to Missouri
Common Name: wingstem 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Asteraceae
Native Range: Eastern North America
Zone: 4 to 8
Height: 4.00 to 8.00 feet
Spread: 2.00 to 6.00 feet
Bloom Time: August to October
Bloom Description: Yellow
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Naturalize
Flower: Showy
Attracts: Butterflies


Easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Thrives in consistently moist, organically rich soils, but also tolerates some dry conditions. Easy to grow from seed.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Verbesina alternifolia commonly called wingstem or yellow ironweed is a tall, weedy, clump-forming perennial that is native to woodland areas in eastern and central North America. In Missouri, it typically occurs in low open or rich woods, wood margins, meadows, thickets and in alluvial soils near streams, sloughs and ditches throughout most of the state (Steyermark). Bright yellow, daisy-like flowers (1-2” diameter) with drooping rays bloom from August to October atop upright, stiff, hairy, winged stems growing 4-8’ tall. Each flower typically features 2-8 narrow, reflexed, bright yellow rays with a slightly darker yellow center disk. Flowers sometimes appear rayless with only disk flowers, hence the common name of yellow ironweed. Sessile or short-stalked, toothed, lanceolate-elliptic leaves (4-12” long) are rough-textured above. Leaf tissue extends beyond the leaf base and down the stems of the plant, hence the common name of wingstem. Seeds are attractive to birds.

Synonymous with and formerly known as Actinomeris alternifolia.

Genus name comes from the plants resemblance to Verbena.

Specific epithet is in reference to the alternate leaf arrangement.


No serious insect or disease problems.


Not sufficiently ornamental for borders. Best naturalized in native plant gardens, wildflower meadows or cottage gardens. Plants may be difficult to find in commerce other than through sources specializing in native plants.