Tall ironweed (Vernonia gigantea) is one of the few non-yellow flowering wildflowers blooming right now here in Tennessee. This extremely tall and purple member of the aster family can be seen throughout roadsides and fields in much of the country during the late summer or early fall. It stands anywhere from 3 feet up to 8 feet tall and occasionally can reach 10 feet. It is definitely aptly named with the “Tall” adjective!
I’ve noticed that this purple flowering native perennial gets along nicely with it’s buddy goldenrod (Solidago). The purple and gold in the fields are putting on quite a show right now. Here is the ironweed in its natural habitat, a field! Near it are several goldenrod plants peaking up from the brush. While they aren’t quite in bloom together in this picture I can assure you that that are in bloom at the same time in many places here in Tennessee. These pictures were taken in Mt. Juliet, TN.
Here’s a close-up of our purple flowering friend. Tall ironweed looks great when examined closer and even has me considering adding a plant to our garden. The butterflies seem to really enjoy it. I suspect that some pruning during its growth cycle would encourage a bushier and somewhat smaller appearance that might work well in the garden. It’s worth a shot!