Sign up for News & Availability Emails
Site Search:
Vernonia lettermannii 'Iron Butterfly' (ironweed)

Vernonia lettermannii 'Iron Butterfly'


This selection of the Arkansas native comes to us from Dr. Allan Armitage's trials at the University of Georgia. It has lovely fine foliage like Amsonia hubrichtii and is a compact, well-branched and vigorous plant. In late summer it is covered with true purple flowers that attract plenty of butterflies. Found in rocky flood plains, Vernonia lettermannii is very tolerant of hot dry locations, yet can withstand brief periods of inundation.

Vernonia lettermannii 'Iron Butterfly' LP50 - 50 per flat Availability
Additional royalty fee per flat Login for Pricing
Total price per flat Login for Pricing
Vernonia lettermannii 'Iron Butterfly' - 50 per flat Availability
Additional royalty fee per flat Login for Pricing
Total price per flat Login for Pricing
Add to My North Creek Nurseries Wish List


30-36 Inches


30-36 Inches


18-24 Inches

Bloom Color


USDA Hardiness Zone 4-9

ironweed Interesting Notes

Vernonia lettermannii grows mainly on gravel bars and in the cracks of rocks in the drainage area of the Ouchita River in Arkansas. USDA Distribution Map

"George W. Letterman, aged 72, a recluse and botanist, died in poverty and attended only by a neighbor in his little cabin at Allenton, thirty miles west of St. Louis, last night. Throughout his long stay in Allenton the botanist lived alone in his one-room cabin, spending most of his time in the woods in search of rare plants and trees. Many distinguished American and European scientists made pilgrimages to his cabin and went on excursions with him through his beloved woods along the Meramec. Many rare plants which he discovered were named after him. Harvard professorships twice were offered to Mr. Letterman, but he waved them aside as temptations, preferring the woods to halls of learning." Some of the genera containing species named for him are Vernonia, Poa, Stipa, and Crataegus. It does not appear that he ever published anything." Torreya (Vol. 13, p. 170)

Vernonia lettermannii 'Iron Butterfly' Growing and Maintenance Tips

Grow Vernonia lettermannii in full sun and average to dry soils with good drainage. Periods of inundation are tolerated, but not heavy or saturated soils.

Good Substitutions

New York ironweed Vernonia noveboracensis
ironweed Vernonia 'Summer's Swan Song'
Vernonia 'Summer's Surrender'

Key Characteristics & Attributes

Full Sun
Full Sun
Drought Tolerant
Drought Tolerant

Additional Information

Soil Moisture Needs
Plug Type
Horticultural Plug
Landscape Plug™
Season of Interest (Flowering)
Late Summer
Green Infrastructure
Bioretention/Rain Garden
Native to North America
Ornamental Foliage
Propagation Type