Wednesday, September 21, 2005
New York Ironweed (Veronica noveboracensis).
Turns out that there are other very similar species: Tall Ironweed (Vernonia angustifolia, previously altissima), Missouri Ironweed (Vernonia missurica), Giant Ironweed (Vernonia gigantea), and maybe even a few others. That database (USDA plants database) is good for showing ranges, but not so hot for ID purposes.
It's not in my Wildflowers of Alabama book. The author seemed prone to ignore flowers that could be considered weeds.
Whichever one it is, it's in the sunflower family, Asteraceae, as are lots of other fall flowers. And the butterflies love it.