Index- plants in this Family
Asteraceae / Composite
Ironweed (Vernonia altissima)
Ironweed is also known as Tall Ironweed.

Plant Type: This is a herbaceous plant, it is a perennial which can reach a height of 3 Meters (10 feet ) .
Leaves: The leaves are alternate. Leaves can reach 25cm in length (10inches). Each lanced shaped leaf is very finely toothed and downy on the underside.
Flowers: The flowers have 5 Regular Parts. They are deep purple. Blooms first appear in mid summer and continue into mid fall. The individual flowers are tiny and this species usually has from 13 to 30 flowers per head. The heads are about 1cm wide when fully opened. The bracts on the flower heads are blunt tipped.
Habitat: Moist fields or open woods.
Range: Throughout the southeast.

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Often seen in meadows and fallow fields the rich purple of the flowers and the tall straight stems make this plant easy to spot. According to my father the stems can be used for kite building.

Medical Uses: Some spices of Ironweed have been used to treat stomach problems. Native Americans may have used the root to treat post childbirth pain and to restore regular menses.(Foster & Duke)

Similar Species: New York Ironweed, V. noveboracensis is not as tall and has between 30 and 50 flowers per head. The bracts end in long bristles.
V. glauca is much shorter, usually under a meter, and has broader leaves. It is usually found in well drained open woods or fence rows.
V. flaccidifolia is a rare species of Ironweed. It has less than 30 flowers per head and is found in a relativity limited area more or less centered where Tennessee, Alabama and Georgia meet.

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More Info:  
The Search below may provide more information about this species. Some of URLs may have been used as a source for this page not otherwise cited. Most of the information not cited comes from multiple sources that can be found in the Books page. The USDA plant links are provided by: USDA, NRCS 1999. The PLANTS database ( National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA. You can check species names at ITIS Advanced Search to see if they meet the current ITIS taxonomic criteria.

By: Newcomb, Lawrence and Illustrated by Morrison, Gordon. 1977, Little, Brown and Company, ISBN:0-316-60442-9

One of the best general guides to wildflowers of the North Eastern and North Central United States. Newcomb's key is an excellent, simple method for identifying plants. Newcomb has drawings for almost every plant mentioned that are excellent aids to identifying the species. Though only the more common plants are covered this is often the first book I pick up when trying to identify a wildflower.

Wildflo wers of Tennessee the Ohio Valley and the Southern Appalachians
By: Dennis Horn and Tavia Cathcart and Thomas E. Hemmerly and David Duhl. , ISBN:1551054280

This is perhaps the best of many field guides covering this region. Featuring 446 excellent color photographs (located with the text) and mentioning as similar to those illustrated are another 800 or so species for a total coverage of over 1,200 species. The start of each family section includes line drawings of some of the species showing important features. The text includes the usual description, bloom season, range, habitat and additionally includes information such as medical uses and lore and how the species was named. This is the official field guide of the Tennessee Native Plant Society.

Angiosperms / Flowering Plants
Dicots / Two Seed Leaves



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