Vernonia noveboracensis
Common Name: New York ironweed
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Asteraceae
Native Range: Eastern and southeastern United States
Zone: 5 to 9
Height: 4.00 to 6.00 feet
Spread: 3.00 to 4.00 feet
Bloom Time: August to September
Bloom Description: Purple
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium to wet
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Naturalize, Rain Garden
Flower: Showy
Tolerate: Deer, Clay Soil, Wet Soil

Culture

Easily grown in average, medium to wet soils in full sun. Tolerates wide range of soils, but prefers rich, moist, slightly acidic soils. Remove flower heads before seed develops to avoid unwanted self-seeding. Overall plant height may be reduced by cutting back stems nearly to the ground in late spring.

Noteworthy Characteristics

This species of ironweed (sometimes commonly called New York ironweed) is a tall, coarse, upright perennial which typically occurs in the wild in moist thickets, low areas and along streambanks from Massachusetts to Mississippi. Features numerous tiny, fluffy, deep purple, composite flowers (rays absent) in loose, 3-4" wide, terminal clusters (cymes) atop stiff, leafy stems typically growing 4-6' tall. Somewhat suggestive of Joe Pye weed, except leaves of ironweed are alternate. Blooms late summer into fall. Rough, pointed, serrate, lance-shaped leaves (6-8" long). Flowers give way to rusty seed clusters. The source of the common name has been varyingly attributed to certain "iron-like" plant qualities including the tough stems, the rusty-tinged color of fading flowers and the rusty colored seeds.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems.

Garden Uses

Background plant for borders. Cottage gardens, wildflower gardens, meadows or naturalized areas.