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Illinois Native Plant Guide - Common Iron Weed - Pages 156-157

Illinois Native Plant Guide

Common Iron Weed
Vernonia fasciculata

Preferred Water Depth and Inundation Tolerance

Wet prairie, sedge meadow, and shallow marsh species. Species tolerates inundation of 2-3 inches early in the season.

Wildlife Value

Serves as a nectar source for insects.


Stoloniferous habit stabilizes upper shorelines and upland slope buffers.

Availability, Establishment, and Maintenance

  • The germination percentage for Common Iron Weed is very low which may be because it produces many nonviable seeds. Germination rates can be increased by sowing stored seed in a seed frame outdoors in June. If soil temperature is consistently warm, germination and seedling growth are very rapid.
  • Transplant seedlings to individual containers when a rosette-like cluster of 3 to 4 four leaves develop and then move plants to the site when roots fill containers.
  • For cuttings, take 4-6 inch stem cuttings in June or July. Root in a 50/50 mix of peat moss and sand. They should be well-rooted in 4 to 5 weeks and may then be transplanted into 3 to 4 inch pots. When well established, they may be transplanted on site or overwintered indoors in the pots for spring planting.
  • Cuttings may not be necessary because establishment from seed has been observed in restorations.
  • Seed availability may be sporadic due to an insect pest.

Common Iron Weed
Vernonia fasciculata

Mature Height
Up to 6 feetCommon Iron Weed

Plant Type
Perennial herb

Indicator Status
Facultative Wet


Nutrient Load Tolerance
Low to moderate

Salt Tolerance
Not available

Siltation Tolerance

Flowering Color and Time

Light Preference
Full sun

Seeding Rate
.06 - .19 lbs/acre

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