Tall ironweed

Vernonia gigantea

Plant Description. Tall ironweed is an upright perennial with a highly visible dark red stem that grows over 7 feet tall and is widely branched at the top. At the ends of branches in loose clusters are saucer-shaped, 1/4-inch-wide flower heads consisting of 30 or fewer purple disk flowers. Attached to the stem are 10-inch-long, lance-shaped, pointed leaves that have short downy hairs on the lower surface. Reproduction is primarily by way of seeds, but new shoots sometimes arise from the large root crown.