WESTERN IRONWEED
File Size: 101 KB
 
Vernonia baldwinii  Torr.
Konza Prairie, Riley County, Kansas
Perennial
Height: 2-5 feet
Family: Asteraceae - Sunflower Family
Flowering Period:   July, August, September
Also Called: Baldwin ironweed.
Stems: Erect, usually unbranched, sparsely to densely pubescent.
Leaves: Alternate, numerous, simple, very short-stalked, lanceolate to narrowly ovate, 1.5 to 7 inches long, 1 to 2 inches wide, finely hairy above, woolly below; margins toothed; tips tapering to points.
Inflorescences: Irregular, loose clusters of numerous heads; immature and mature heads often together in same inflorescence; heads about 1/2 inch wide; bracts overlapping, purplish to greenish brown, tips pointed, spreading or curving back and downward.
Flowers: Ray florets absent; disk florets 17-34, reddish purple.
Fruits: Achenes, tiny, ribbed, tipped with brownish purple bristles, enclosing small seed.
Habitat: Dry or heavily grazed pastures, open upland sites, disturbed areas, and roadsides.
Distribution: Throughout Kansas.
Forage Value: This plant is very bitter and is not consumed by cattle, though sheep will eat it.
Comments: Western ironweed is one of the most common pasture weeds in Kansas. It will increase in overgrazed grasslands.

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