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(Vernonia baldwinii)
Western Ironweed

Host Species: American Lady Butterfly (Vanessa virginiensis)

Nectar Plant: many insects including other butterflies, bees, and wasps. Birds, enjoy the seeds in the fall.

Flower Color: pink, red-purple, to purple

Growth Habit: herbaceous perennial

Flowering Time: May to September

Range in North America: Mid-western United States

Exposure: Prefers full sun to partial sun

Hardiness: Zones 5-9

Soil Requirements: well-drained soil

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Western Ironweed (Vernonia baldwinii)

Purple flowers of Baldwin's ironweed (Vernonia baldwinii).

Purple Flowers of Baldwin’s Ironweed — “Vernonia baldwinii” by Dr. Alison Northup is licensed under CC BY 4.0.

Alternative Names

Baldwin’s Ironweed

Description of Western Ironweed (Vernonia baldwinii)

Western Ironweed (Vernonia baldwinii), a member of the Asteraceae (Aster Family), is a herbaceous perennial that grows from 2′ to 6′ tall and blooms, with pink to purple flowers in the spring and early fall (May to September).  This plant grows in places with full sun to partial-sun in well-drained soil.

Hosted Species

American Lady (Vanessa virginiensis)

American lady butterfly (Vanessa virginiensis) on white flower.

American Lady butterfly on white flower — ALAN SCHMIERER, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Nectar Species

This species is a nectar source to other butterflies, skippers, bees, and wasps during the growing season.  Birds, such as goldfinch, like to eat the seeds in the fall.


This ironweed grows in places with full sun to part-sun having well-drained soil.  In the wild, it grows in open areas such as fields, railroads, pastures, prairies, floodplains, and the moist soils of creek and river banks.

Range of Western Ironweed (Vernonia baldwinii) in the United States and Canada

Range map of Western Ironweed (Vernonia baldwinii) in the United States and Canada.

Western Ironweed (Vernonia baldwinii) is native to the mid-western United States.

Interesting Facts

The genus name, Vernonia, is in honor of William Vernon, an English botanist.  The species name, baldwinii, is in honor of William Baldwin, who originally collected the plant and was an American botanist and physician (Wikipedia).


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Western Ironweed”

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