Giant Ironweed (Vernonia gigantea)

Common names:
Give a thumbs up Giant Ironweed
Give a thumbs up Tall Ironweed

Botanical names:
Vernonia gigantea Accepted
Vernonia altissima Synonym

General Plant Information (Edit)
Plant Habit: Herb/Forb
Life cycle: Perennial
Sun Requirements: Full Sun
Full Sun to Partial Shade
Partial or Dappled Shade
Minimum cold hardiness: Zone 4a -34.4 °C (-30 °F) to -31.7 °C (-25 °F)
Maximum recommended zone: Zone 9b
Plant Height: 36 - 72 inches
Plant Spread: 24 - 48 inches
Flowers: Showy
Flower Color: Purple
Bloom Size: Under 1"
Flower Time: Summer
Late summer or early fall
Underground structures: Rhizome
Uses: Will Naturalize
Wildlife Attractant: Bees
Birds
Butterflies
Propagation: Seeds: Stratify seeds: 3 months at 40 degrees

Image

Photo gallery:
Location: Indiana  Zone 5Date: August
By gardengus
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Location: Indiana  Zone 5Date: Augustclose up
By gardengus
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Location: Tennesseecourtesy Sunlight Gardens, www.sunlightgardens.com
By SongofJoy
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Location: Indiana  Zone 5Date: 2010-09-24dried seed still on plant
By gardengus
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Photo courtesy of Annie's Annuals and Perennials
By Calif_Sue
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Location: Tyler Arboretum near Media, PennsylvaniaDate: 2012-07-25a group near the parking lot
By ILPARW
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Location: Tyler Arboretum near Media, PennsylvaniaDate: 2012-07-25Tiger Swallowtail on flowers
By ILPARW
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Location: My garden in Kalama, Wa. Zone 8
By Joy
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Location: Tyler Arboretum near Media, PennsylvaniaDate: 2012-07-25close-up of flowers and foliage
By ILPARW
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Comments:
Posted by SongofJoy (Clarksville, TN - Zone 6b) on Jan 15, 2012 2:38 PM

If you want a tall perennial with rich reddish-purple flowers, Ironweed cannot be beaten. Ironweed is a common wildflower of moist fields and roadsides. Flower clusters are present from July to frost and can attain spreads of over 12 inches. Maturing from the inside out, flowers start out deep, dark reddish-purple and become light purple with contrasting white anthers that look like bits of snow on the flowers. The flowers are excellent as fresh-cut flowers. Because of its height (4 to 7 feet), it would be best at the rear of the garden or in natural areas. Ironweed is very attractive growing with Goldenrod, Joe Pye Weed, Wild Ageratum, Seashore Mallow, and Sunflowers. It needs full sun or partial shade and moisture.

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Posted by gardengus (Indiana Zone 5b) on Aug 28, 2014 1:01 PM

This beautiful wildflower grows too tall for the place it has chosen, so I cut it in half around July 1st to keep it shorter. It still blooms, and at the same time as the uncut ones, just shorter.

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Posted by ILPARW (southeast Pennsylvania - Zone 6b) on Mar 1, 2018 7:52 PM

I really call this species the Tall Ironweed (Vernonia altissima) but I am sure Giant is also fine. It gets taller than the other species of up to 10 feet, though often 5 to 8 feet high. The leaves are supposed to be downy on the undersides. It grows in moist or wet soils from New York through southern Michigan through Illinois into Missouri and southward deep into the South from there. (Prairie Nursery in Westfield, Wisconsin says it is the showiest of the Ironweeds with pink-purple flowers held like torches atop the tall flower stalks, which butterflies can't resist. It makes a great back-of-the-border perennial, as well as a focal point in a wet meadow.) It is sold by some native plant nurseries.

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Discussion Threads about this plant
Thread Title Last Reply Replies
Another to ID - help? by checlarkglobal Aug 15, 2018 7:20 AM 2
Unknown Plant by rhino57 Jan 10, 2018 10:25 AM 15
Need ID this. by levi Sep 11, 2016 7:47 AM 6
Purple wild flower id.... by Imaeus Aug 13, 2014 8:30 PM 6

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