South Dakota Native Plant Research
Asteraceae : Vernonia fasciculata

Asteraceae : Vernonia fasciculata


Download Mature plant (1.8 MB)

Download Seedlings (1.7 MB)

Download Flowering image (1.9 MB)

Download Pollinator (3.8 MB)

Family Name


Common Name

Prairie ironweed, Ironweed

Native American Name

Lakota: waȟpé apé blaskáska


Vernonia fasciculata is a perennial herb from a fibrous rooted base, 60-120 cm tall and unbranched or branched only near the top. The stem is round, hairless, and greenish to reddish purple. The alternate, simple lanceolate leaves are sessile or have very short petioles, 4-15 cm long and 5-45 mm wide. Their margins are toothed, the leaf surfaces are hairless, the lower leaf surface having a prominent central vein, and often small black dots. The inflorescence is a flat-topped cluster of heads with each head has an involucre of overlapping bracts, the inner ones longer than the outer bracts, their pedicels usually slightly pubescent. There are 10-30 magenta disk flowers, the corollas 9-11 mm long, with 5 spreading lobes and a prominent divided style. The achenes are ~3 mm long with a brown to purplish pappus that is about twice as long. Ironweed blooms from July through October in damp prairies and along streambanks throughout South Dakota.

Additional Notes

Ironweed is a beautiful addition to a native plant garden. Its flowers are striking and attract native bees and butterflies, primarily skippers. It is also a larval host for the American painted lady.

Horticulture Notes

Seed Collection: Collect seeds in late summer and fall when seedheads become puffballs.

Germination: Seeds are dormant and need 60-day cold treatment or fall planting,

Soils: Moist, organically rich soils.

Light: Full sun to partial shade.

Water: Best in moist habitats but can withstand some drying.

Asteraceae : Vernonia fasciculata