TALL IRONWEED, Vernonia
altissima Nutt. 1, upper portion of stem; 2, flower
head; 3, single flower; 4, seed; 5, distribution.
Perennial, reproducing by rhizomes and seed. Roots strong,
fibrous. Stems erect, 3 to 6 feet (0.9 to 1.8 m) tall, widely branched
in the upper portion. Leaves long, lanceolate to narrowly ovate,
sharply toothed, with short hairs on the lower surface. Flower heads
about 3/8 inch (9 mm) across, numerous, surrounded by smooth-tipped leafy
bracts, borne in a flat topped cluster at the ends of the branches. Disk
flowers reddish-purple. Seed mostly oblong, prominently ribbed,
with short bristles at the tip. Found in meadows, pastures, and
WESTERN IRONWEED, Vernonia baldwini
Torr. 6, flower head; 7, distribution. Similar to the above
species. Leaves densely hairy on lower surface. Flower heads
surrounded by bracts with hooked tips. Found in prairie pastures.