VERNONIA fasciculata (Prairie Ironweed) is a perennial flowering plantnative to central and eastern North America, spanning from the United States (from Texas to Minnesota and eastward) to Canada (Ontario and Quebec). It belongs to the Asteraceae family, which includes sunflowers and daisies.
Prairie ironweed is a tall and erect plant that can reach heights of 3 to 8 feet (0.9 to 2.4 meters). It has a sturdy stem with rough-textured leaves that are lance-shaped and arranged alternately along the stem. The leaves are typically dark green and have toothed margins. The plant produces clusters of vibrant purple flowers with a tufted appearance.
Prairie ironweed is commonly found in prairies, meadows, open woodlands, and along stream banks. It prefers moist to wet soils but can tolerate a wide range of soil conditions, including clay and loam.
The plant blooms from mid-summer to early fall, typically from July to September. The purple flowers are arranged in dense, rounded clusters at the top of the stems and attract a variety of pollinators, including butterflies and bees. After pollination, the flowers give way to small, dry fruits called achenes, which are dispersed by wind.
Prairie ironweed plays an essential role in supporting pollinators and other wildlife. The nectar-rich flowers attract butterflies, bees, and other beneficial insects. The plant also serves as a host for the caterpillars of some butterfly species, including the American painted lady (Vanessa virginiensis) and the bordered patch (Chlosyne lacinia). Additionally, the seeds of prairie ironweed are a food source for birds.
Overall, Vernonia fasciculata (prairie ironweed) is a visually striking native plant with ecological significance. Its tall growth habit, attractive purple flowers, and ability to support wildlife make it a valuable component of natural landscapes and restoration projects.
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Scientific Name: Vernonia Fasciculata
Common Name: Prairie Ironweed
Plant Type: Perennials
Family: Vernonia-Iron Weeds
Zone: 4 to 9
Native Range: South-central Canada to central and eastern United States
Full Growth Height: 24-72 "
Width: 24-72 "
Exposure: Full Sun
Blooming Season: Summer (Mid, Late), Fall
Flower Color: Purple
Tolerate: Deer, Wet Soil
Water Requirement: Average, High
Soil Type: Clay, Loam, Well-Drained, Moist
Soil pH: Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Uses: Beds and Borders, Prairies and Meadows, Native Gardens, Rain Gardens