Ironweed, Missouri ironweed

Vernonia missurica Raf.

Family: Asteraceae (aster)

  • Bloom Period:
    • Late,
    • Mid-Season,
  • Growth Cycle:
    • Perennial,
  • Growth Habit:
    • Forbs/Herbs,
  • Insect Type Attracted:
    • Natural Enemy,
    • Pollinator,
  • Light:
    • Full,
    • Partial,
  • Region:
    • Southern Lower Peninsula,
  • Soil Moisture:
    • Medium,
    • Wet
  • Height:
    • 3-6ft

Natural enemies attracted

Highly attractive: Chalcidoidea.

Mildly attractive: Orius insidiosus, Thomisidae, Salticidae, Coccinellidae, Plagiognathus politus, Empididae, Chlamydatus associatus, Cynipoidea and Braconidae.

Pollinators attracted

Moderately attractive: bees including sweat bees, leafcutter bees, cuckoo bees, small carpenter bees, and bumble bees.

Pests attracted

Moderately attractive: lygus bugs.

Mildly attractive: leaf beetles, leafhoppers, Japanese beetles, froghoppers and tephritid fruit flies.

Plant notes

Striking purple, feathered flowers about 1 inch across bloom in groups at the top of the plant throughout August. This species was sixth most attractive to natural enemies in the late season, with three times as many natural enemies as the grass control.


Ironweed grows in full to partial sun, and average to very wet soils. It naturally occurs in damp areas such as river bottom woods, fens, sedge meadows and wet prairies. It may also occur in damp or dry open ground along roadsides, fencerows, fields and river banks.

Cultivation and management

Ironweed can be grown from seed (flowers in third year) or plug material (flowers in second year).