Sunday, August 31, 2008

Deep Purple

Ironweed, Vernonia sp.

The Ironweed stands tall in the field.
Where teasel has passed its lavender head to brown and graceful grasses lean. Branching broadly above the warming tones of goldenrod, with the disposition to look me straight in the eye as I walk there.

I cannot leave without taking a bit of it with me, though its toughness plants it firmly in our baked clay soil. The dainty flowers riding atop the towering stems draw my eye every time.
Their delicate tubular flowers densely packed into each small head, and held in clusters ten feet high.

Glazed by morning dew.
Holding the days’ heat from under a setting sun.
Until autumn’s chill is with us.
It stands sturdy and strong.

Click to enlarge photos

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Anonymous said...

Purple: the color of royalty.
Deep Purple: the name of a great band.
Wonderful photos.

nina said...

I'm glad you appreciate these lovely purple beauties.
The "rough" name hardly seems to indicate what delicate flowers it carries.
And, the color...supreme!

NCmountainwoman said...

Once again you have drawn our attention to beauty we often overlook. Wonderful post.

Heather said...

Hi Nina. I've been enjoying your blog for several weeks now - love your photos, especially the macro shots. I'm about 3 hours east of you, but our weather and vegetation is about the same. Ironweed is my favorite wildflower. I made a post about it myself a little while ago. Keep enjoying nature. I find it helps keep me sane in a sometimes less than sane world!

bobbie said...

Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful!

thecrazysheeplady said...

This is a beautiful blog. Thanks!

Tom said...


I love vernonia. I'm going to try to grow it next year in our yard. I was out photographing it today as well. Hard to believe that summer is wrapping up, isn't it? It seems like yesterday that we all were pining for spring and getting hyped up about for vernal pool season.


Julie Zickefoose said...

V. altissima, fer sure. Apparently V. novaeboracensis is virtually unknown in Ohio. It's at its peak right now.

Hi, Tom--I grow it in the flower beds but I have two very important tips. First, it throws seed children like MAD but they are almost impossible to pull once they get rooted, hence the name. So this is one to deadhead before it sets seed! Second, along about early July, I cut it back to about 2' high. Then, it branches and makes the loveliest big shrubby bunch of branches and follows with bazillions of blossoms. If you don't do this, it will get 12' tall on a single stem, and look kind of dopey in your border.

And that's the truth.

nina said...

Heather, I do not find your blog--am I missing it somehow?

Tom--yep! And it's never too early to start pining for the next vernal go 'round! The best thing about cycles is you're either late for one or early for the next. I'm sure the busy-ness of your summer has mad it pass even more quickly.

Julie--I'm always glad to have a more specific name, though have learned not to add species unless VERY sure. I've gotten myself in trouble before, and now sometimes resort to just calling them "pretty purple flowers" to be safe.
I thought altissima was what I should have here--that's Tall Ironweed, right?

Heather said...

Nina - wow, thanks for pointing that out! The link to my blog should show from my profile now.

I made such a daring assumption that Vernonia altissima is what we have growing in southern Ohio that I used it in the title of my blog post! Eeek! If I feel pretty confident with a field guide ID, then I'll go with it, but if I can't make a positive enough ID from a field guide, I'll use generalizations, too.