For Your Garden - November 2012
Native plants provide beauty as well as food and shelter for wildlife. Native species are adapted to the Illinois climate. They require little or no watering and are resistant to drought, insects and most diseases. Because they are perennials, you can welcome their presence year after year.
Missouri ironweed (Vernonia missurica)
Photo © Illinois Department of Natural Resources
Ironweed is a common plant in Illinois, growing in open woods, prairies and roadsides. The plant may grow to five feet tall. Stems are unbranched except immediately below the flower heads. The leaves are arranged alternately along the stem and are toothed along the edges. The underside of each leaf is finely pitted. The purple flowers are produced in clusters at the top of the plant from July though September.
Classification and taxonomy are based on Mohlenbrock, Robert H. 2014. Vascular flora of Illinois: A field guide. Fourth edition. Southern Illinois University Press, Carbondale. 536 pp.