Vernonia fasciculata

Botanical Name : Vernonia fasciculata
Family : Asteraceae (Aster Family)
Common Name : Prairie ironweed, Common ironweed, Smooth ironweed

Habitat :Smooth Ironweed is fairly common in in the northern half of Illinois, but uncommon elsewhere in the state . Habitats include wet to moist black soil prairies, riverbottom prairies, marshes, sloughs along railroads, and edges of fields. Smooth Ironweed is found in wetland habitats to a greater extent than other species of Ironweeds.

Description:
Vernonia fasciculata is a perennial plant. It grows   2-4′ tall and unbranched. The central stem is round, hairless, and white, light green, or reddish purple. The alternate leaves are up to 5″ long and ½” across. They are narrowly lanceolate, narrowly ovate, or linear. Their margins are serrated, while the upper and lower leaf surfaces are hairless. The lower leaf surface also has a prominent central vein, and black dots may be present. The leaves are sessile against the stem, or they have short petioles. The central stem terminates in a flat-topped cluster of magenta compound flowers (i.e., a corymb). This flower cluster is quite dense, rather than loose and spreading. The flowering stalks may be slightly pubescent. A compound flower consists of 15-30 disk florets with a short cylinder of green bracts underneath. These bracts are appressed together like fish scales, and they are often slightly ciliate. The cylinder of bracts spans about 1/5″ across. A disk floret is magenta, with 5 spreading lobes and a prominent divided style. The blooming period occurs from late summer to early fall, and lasts about a month. There is no noticeable floral scent. The flowers are replaced by achenes that have a pappus of hair-like scales. These achenes can be blown several feet from the mother plant by gusts of wind. The root system is spreading and fibrous.

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Cultivation: The preference is full sun, moist conditions, and fertile soil. Partial sun and slightly moister or drier conditions are also tolerated. This plant can withstand occasional flooding for short periods of time. The foliage is not bothered by pests and disease to any significant extent.

Medicinal Uses:
The root is bitter tonic used to improve the blood.Particularly useful in female  complaints, amenorrhea,dysmenorrhea,leucorrhea and menorrhagia. Considering a certain remedy for chills and intermitent and bilious fevers, and also valuable in scorfula, diseases of the skin and in constitunal syphilis. Some herbalist employed in the treatment of dyspepsia.

Disclaimer:
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_IJK.htm
http://www.illinoiswildflowers.info/prairie/plantx/sm_ironweedx.htm
http://www.wildflower.org/plants/result.php?id_plant=VEFA2
http://wisplants.uwsp.edu/scripts/Detail.asp?spcode=VERFASsFAS

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