Sign up for News & Availability Emails
Site Search:
Vernonia noveboracensis (New York ironweed)
Species Distribution Map: Click to enlarge
Map Color Key © 2013 BONAP

Vernonia noveboracensis

New York ironweed

Deep purple haze in damp meadows, roadsides and pastures. A lovely native that adapts well to any moist location.

Vernonia noveboracensis LP50 - 50 per flat Availability
Add to My North Creek Nurseries Wish List


4-7 Feet


2-4 Feet


12-18 Inches

Bloom Color


USDA Hardiness Zone 5-8

New York ironweed Interesting Notes

New York ironweed is a robust wildflower with saturated-violet and narrow petaled flowers. Clusters of finely petaled flowers, in dense clusters, top a 5-7’ clump-forming plant. Normally found in nature in wet swales, Vernonia novaboracensis also grows well in drier sites in the garden without extra care. The intense purple flowers bloom for most of the month of September and attract many butterflies. Grow New York ironweed in full sun to filtered shade. It grows well in the flower border or native meadow garden with Andropogon virginicus, Helianthus angustifoliusConoclinium coelestinumSymphyotrichum novae-angliaeLiatris spicata, and Helianthus microcephalus. - Mt. Cuba Center

This plant is most frequently recognized by the common name New York ironweed, but is commonly referred to simply as ironweed. The specific name for the genus, Vernonia, honors an English botanist, William Vernon, who collected plants in Maryland in the seventeenth century. The plant species name novaboracensis refers to the plant being `of New York' where it may have been collected first.

New York ironweed is an herbaceous species in a genus that consists of about 500 - 1000 species of herbs, climbers, shrubs and trees. Species of Vernonia are distributed around the world with representatives found in South and North America, Asia, and Africa. Ironweed is a member of the Composite family, also known as the Asteraceae. Plants in the family can be recognized by their inflorescence, which appear to be a single flower, but in fact are a collection of flowers merged into a single head. Familiar members of this family include sunflowers, daisies, and black-eyed Susans. More...

This species of ironweed (sometimes commonly called New York ironweed) is a tall, coarse, upright perennial which typically occurs in the wild in moist thickets, low areas and along streambanks from Massachusetts to Mississippi. Features numerous tiny, fluffy, deep purple, composite flowers (rays absent) in loose, 3-4" wide, terminal clusters (cymes) atop stiff, leafy stems typically growing 4-6' tall. Somewhat suggestive of Joe Pye weed, except leaves of ironweed are alternate. Blooms late summer into fall. Rough, pointed, serrate, lance-shaped leaves (6-8" long). Flowers give way to rusty seed clusters. The source of the common name has been varyingly attributed to certain "iron-like" plant qualities including the tough stems, the rusty-tinged color of fading flowers and the rusty colored seeds. Kemper Center for Home Gardening

Vernonia noveboracensis Growing and Maintenance Tips

Thrives in full sun in moist garden soil or a boggy ditch. Needs consistent moisture to be happy, but will tolerate short periods of dryness.

Ironweed is found in low woods, ditches and marshes, mainly near the coast; Massachusetts to Alabama and Florida.

Good Substitutions

ironweed Vernonia lettermannii 'Iron Butterfly'
ironweed Vernonia 'Summer's Surrender'
ironweed Vernonia 'Summer's Swan Song'

Key Characteristics & Attributes

Full Sun
Full Sun
Drought Tolerant
Drought Tolerant

Additional Information

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