Wednesday, September 21, 2005


New York Ironweed (Veronica noveboracensis).

I think.

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.


Rurality said...

I actually took this picture before our craft show - before it got so dry. All the Ironweed is droopy now.

Also, if you're considering buying the wildflower book... it's a great book, but it's got the worst binding known to man. It disintegrates in no time.

Lorianne said...

Butterflies love ironweed, but cows hate it. Back in Ohio, you'd see clumps of ironweed in cow pastures: the only tall green thing the cows wouldn't eat.

I'm impressed by the color in this photo. Ironweed purple is notoriously difficult to capture in photos.

Floridacracker said...

Like the butterflies, I love this plant. It grows great here also.

Anonymous said...

Someone said, "A weed is just a flower in the wrong place."

Rurality said...

Lorianne, I think the position of the sun helped. It's the little bluets that I can never get to come out the right in photos.

I haven't noticed it in the cow pastures near here, but maybe it's just too dry. Around here there always seems to be something yellow that the cows won't eat - buttercups in the spring, and I think sneezeweed in the fall.

FC I keep thinking it should have a nice fragrance too!

Anon - yep. Also, something with a lot more leaf than flower!

Wayne said...

It's great to see that so many people love ironweed! It's one of my favorites. I have the NY Ironweed, and the Vernonia baldwinii, and Glenn brought back some seeds of V. gigantea but they didn't germinate.

Yes indeed it is a great butterfly plant. Earlier in the summer it was also a great ant-aphid farm, but that got zapped by a combination of little wasps and ladybugs. A whole ecology on this marvelous plant.

So Karen, you're having drought too! We haven't had any rain since Katrina, and that was a measly 0.1", and before that several weeks with only 0.1" twice. It's really getting dry here - the leaves are falling off the tulip poplars and hornbeams and river birches and oaks, and I don't think it's because of autumn, it's drought.

(How can it be autumn - we've been having 90+ temps every day for three weeks!)

Marie said...

Life has so gotten in the way of me taking photos of Ironweed. So glad that you did it. Do you remember the play, "stop the world I wanna get off' or something like that. I just want it to slow down a bit--not much. Please.

Rurality said...

Wayne - at least we got a couple of inches with Katrina. But that seems like such a long time ago!

Marie I know what you mean. I was like that for a couple of weeks before our last show. Totally keyed up and stressed out! I'll be like that again before Christmas too, I'm sure.

epickayakfreak said...

We call them asters and they are quite lovely now. They make their appearance after the Queen Annes Lace (And Tourists!) go. Nice picture. I should upload my pictures of one of our lighter blue varietes so I can share it.