Vernonia gigantea

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Vernonia gigantea
Vernonia gigantea Gil.jpg
Photo taken by Gil Nelson
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
Class: Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
Order: Asterales
Family: Asteraceae ⁄ Compositae
Genus: Vernonia
Species: V. gigantea
Binomial name
Vernonia gigantea
(Walter) Trel.
VERN GIGA dist.jpg
Natural range of Vernonia gigantea from USDA NRCS Plants Database.

Common names: Giant ironweed, Common ironweed

Taxonomic notes

Synonyms: V. altissima Nuttal; V. altissima var. taeniotricha.[1]


A description of Vernonia gigantea is provided in The Flora of North America.




In the Coastal Plain, V. gigantea has been found in loam soil atop of a ravine; loamy sand in mesic hardwoods; river hammocks; marshes; floodplain forests; upland mixed forest; shortleaf pine-post &red oak-mockernut woods; pine-oak-hickory woods in a ravine; annually burned upland pineland; calcareous slopes; sandy loam in mature hardwoods; sandy open live oak hammocks; sand beneath cabbage palm thicket; calcareous mixed flatwoods hammocks; hammock surrounded by marsh; lowland forests habitats; and sandy peat in a clearing of cabbage palm-live oak hammock.[2][3] It is found in disturbed successional areas[2] along with moist loam of roadside depressions; loamy sand along edge of channel; open mixed hardwood forest between power-line and road; along powerline corridors; and grassy clearings of pine-palmetto flats. Substrate types include loam, loamy sand, sandy loam, calcareous soils, limestone, sand, and sandy peat.[3]

Associated species include Eupatorium fisulosum, Arnoflossum ovatum, Smilax bona-nox, Morus rubra, Campsis radicans, and cabbage palm.[3]


This species has been observed to flower January through November[4] and fruits June through November.[3]

Seed bank and germination

Heating at low temperatures stimulates germination in V. gigantea.[2]

Fire ecology

It has been observed to thrive after low-intensity fires.[2]


Vernonia gigantea has been observed with bees such as Xylocopa virginica (family Apidae), leafcutting bees from the Megachilidae family such as Megachile brevis, M. latimanus, M. mendica, and M. perihirta, and plant bugs such as Lygus lineolaris (family Miridae).[5]

Conservation, cultivation, and restoration

Cultural use

Photo Gallery

References and notes

  1. Weakley, A.S. 2015. Flora of the southern and mid-atlantic states. Working Draf of 21 May 2015. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Emery, S. M., J. Uwimbabazi, et al. (2011). "Fire intensity effects on seed germination of native and invasive Eastern deciduous forest understory plants." Forest Ecology and Management 261: 1401-1408.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Florida State University Robert K. Godfrey Herbarium database. URL: Last accessed: July 2015. Collectors: Loran C. Anderson, Robert K. Godfrey, Robert L. Lazor, Gary R. Knight, R. Kral, P. L. Redfearn, Jr., R. F. Thorne, R. A. Davidson, Brenda Herring, Don Herring, R. A. Norris, Andre F. Clewell, Sidney McDaniel, R. Komarek, Lisa Keppner, S. W. Leonard, Richard S. Mitchell, D. S. Correll, Grady W. Reinert. States and Counties: Florida: Brevard, Calhoun, Citrus, Dixie, Escambia, Flagler, Franklin, Gadsden, Gilchrist, Gulf, Jackson, Jefferson, Leon, Levy, Liberty, Madison, Nassau, Polk, Putnam, Seminole, St. Johns, Suwannee, Taylor, Wakulla, Washington. Georgia: Thomas. Mississippi: Holmes. Compiled by Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy.
  4. Nelson, G. PanFlora: Plant data for the eastern United States with emphasis on the Southeastern Coastal Plains, Florida, and the Florida Panhandle. Accessed: 19 MAY 2021
  5. [1]