Vernonia lettermannii

Information courtesy of Magna Vista High School students






Vernonia lettermannii, "Ironweed," is a perennial wildflower named after George W. Letterman. He was a recluse and botanist who spent his days searching for rare plants in the Missouri, Ozarks.  

Ironweed flourishes in the late summer. It will begin to bloom small clusters of royal purple flowers. Butterflies and other pollinators flock to the florets. This species thrives in dry open woods or in sunny gardens, with average well drained soil. It is usually 2 to 3 feet in height​.


Alternate Leaf Arrangement 


Entire Edges 


Parallel Venation


Acuminate Apex


Subulate Shape



Family: Asteraceae






Status: Not endangered, common in the U.S.


Native: Introduced to Arkansas was the first place it was discovered in America


Origin: Originally from Eastern Africa


Scientific name: Vernonia lettermannii


Common Names:


Narrow-leaf Ironweed


Iron Butterfly Ironweed




Butterflies, they even helped to name this flower


Bees, which help to pollinate the plant


Caterpillars of some moths

Niche: Ironweed is a very common plant in the western states, growing in the woods and prairies, and along river streams, and flowering from July to September. This plant plays a very important ecological role. It attracts butterflies and provides them with nectar. If the plant was to be demolished or gotten rid of, most butterfly populations would decrease dramatically.

Ironweed Uses

Some of the products that can be made from vernonia include adhesives, varnishes and paints, and industrial coatings, and can be used as a solvent in oil-based paints. Some different types of vernonia have been said to be used for medical purposes

Vernonia lettermannii.png