Light: Full Sun- Partial Shade Soil: Medium Wet-Medium Height: 6 feet Bloom: August-September
Description: This stately plant offers a large cluster of unusually brilliant purple flowers on top of 6' tall, unbranched stems; a sight to see late summer and into fall. Dark green, coarsely-toothed leaves add to the overall interest. It works well as a tall backdrop plant. The seeds are fluffy and brown and disperse nicely in the wind. It will thrive in moister soils with full to partial sun. Ironweed is a host plant for the American Painted Lady butterfly and is listed by the Xerces Society as having special value to native bees.
Attracts: The flowers attract long-tongued bees, butterflies, and skippers primarily. Other visitors include bee flies and Halictid bees. These insects seek nectar, although bees also collect pollen. Among the long-tongued bees, are such visitors as bumblebees, Epeoline cuckoo bees, Miner bees, and large Leaf-Cutting bees. An oligolectic bee of Ironweeds is Melissodes vernoniae. The caterpillars of several moths feed on Ironweed, includingGrammia parthenice(Parthenice Tiger Moth) andPerigea xanthioides(Red Groundling). Caterpillars that bore into the roots or stems of Ironweed includePapaipema cerussata(Ironweed Borer Moth),Carmenta bassiformis(Eupatorium Borer Moth), and somePolygrammodes spp.(Pyralid Moths).