Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Wildflower of the Month/September-Ironweed

September brings us the underrated Ironweed. I always look forward to their purple splender. This tall wildflower is a butterfly magnet.
The New York Ironweed (Vernonia noveboracensis) is common, statewide in moist bottomland fields. Tall Ironweed (Vernonia altissima) is common in moist areas west of the Alleghenies. One other ironweed can be found east of the mountains. The Broad-leaved Ironweed (Vernonia glauca); though rare, may be found in some locations to the East.
The purple flowers of these species are a host of numerous butterfly, moth,wasps, bees, flies, bugs and other insects. A pure field of Ironweed in the perfect light is a sight to see.

Yellow Ironweed (Verbesina alternifolia) is the common yellow flower of roadsides and fields. This tall yellow flower; while is by no means  spectacular or rare, is an important host for many species.

While on your travels through the fields and forests of September, do not forget to observe the weeds. You never know what you will find there.

The National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Wildflowers: Western Region

National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Wildflowers--E: Eastern Region - Revised Edition

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