Help ID this Monsterous Plant from hell!

BetsyKristl(5)August 16, 2014

This 8'+ perennial showed up a few years ago and for some reason (mental illness?) I thought it might be some variant of an aster. Because it has a buddy - 6' garden phlox - I assumed it was something I planted and kept it, even though its height is not exactly suitable. Now, however, it has decided to really move in and I'd love to be rid of it...

but first, I'd like to know what it is. I can tell you that it dies back to the ground every year and that its stalks are hollow. Other than that, it's just huge.

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BetsyKristl(5)

These pictures are a couple of weeks old - I'll try to get new ones tomorrow.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2014 at 11:09PM
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dbarron(z7_Arkansas)

Ironweed, Veronina, a great wildflower, very attractive to butterflies.

For shorter show, cut it back in June.

This post was edited by dbarron on Sat, Aug 16, 14 at 23:10

    Bookmark   August 16, 2014 at 11:09PM
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BetsyKristl(5)

Here's a close up of the plant, currently in flower.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2014 at 10:10PM
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BetsyKristl(5)

another picture, taken 8/17/2014

See the bee on the flower for blossom size. They are about 1", but look much smaller because they are dwarfed by their height.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2014 at 10:17PM
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morz8(Washington Coast Z8b)

Still as dbarron said, I'm just correcting his spelling to Vernonia, not his ID. Ironweed.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2014 at 11:27PM
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BetsyKristl(5)

Thanks, dbarron! Ironweed... I don't recall planting it, so I've become infested with something wild, huge, but potentially lovely?

That's unusually lucky for me.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2014 at 12:14AM
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weedwoman(z6 NJ)

It's a common wild flower in old fields and roadside. As dbarron said, very attractive to bees and butteflies. It's certainly large and kind of gawky, but around here it doesn't spread aggressively, so I wouldn't call it a weed.

WW

    Bookmark   August 21, 2014 at 12:36AM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Are there exotic invasive Vernonias? Never heard of one, this is probably a native plant.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2014 at 9:29AM
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BetsyKristl(5)

I can promise you I would never have voluntarily planted something called "ironweed" in my garden. On the other hand, it is not a wild flower with which I am familiar, and I've lived here all my life. My guess is that I planted this, but it was mis-marked. It is spreading, but not so rapidly as other things. Clearly it self sows.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2014 at 10:10PM
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dbarron(z7_Arkansas)

If plants didn't self-sow, they'd all be extinct.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2014 at 11:15PM
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BetsyKristl(5)

You make a good point there, dbarron. Too bad it doesn't apply to the one's we've engineered to stay where they're planted! I'd love to have some of my roses self-sow!

    Bookmark   August 22, 2014 at 12:48AM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Many desirable garden plants have 'weed' as part of a common name. I was told ironweed got its' name from its' tough stems that can't be picked, for a bouquet, that one almost always pulls up the roots and all if trying to pick/break a flower stalk (with bare hands, not scissors.)

Not uncommon to see ironweed for sale, in pots. When I lived in OH, it would bloom along with joe pye 'weed,' (also cultivated and sold,) goldenrod (of which there are too many to go into, but also includes some cultivated cultivars,) and asters (same as goldenrod.) A stunning color-combo and part of the finale for the years' flowers, all along the roadsides.

I also don't enjoy pulling tons of seedlings of plants that drop a lot of seeds, so have very few of those, but also wish I had a big enough property that I didn't want to micro-manage every sq foot, & let a few more wild natives do their thing. And just because they sell something in a store doesn't mean you'll enjoy it if you bring it home, after reading so many stories about various plants, and digging up so many that I'd bought then tried to take the whole garden, I'd always research before I dig a hole. Same with stuff that pops up on its' own. Rarely keepers, but folks do get lucky occasionally, depending on their personal criteria for what should and should not grow at their house. You get to decide.

Also a fav of butterflies, if you like to have those visit. And nothing says you can't enjoy it until the flowers look about finished, then cut it to prevent the seeds from falling in the bed, if you want to.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2014 at 4:56PM
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dbarron(z7_Arkansas)

I recently purchased Ironweed 'Iron Butterflies' a selection of V lettermanii, which has a fine foliage like amsonia hubrichtii, and grows lower than the species you have.

Both have incredibly tough constitution...the pasture behind me is heavily grazed and very dry right now, but the ironweeds are sporadically out there, ungrazed (unpalatable) and flowering happily.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2014 at 5:04PM
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lisanti07028(z6NJ)

I've had New York Ironweed for about 10 years and only had one seedling, so at least in NJ it's not a thug. Now, boneset and cup plant, THOSE are thugs.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2014 at 9:02PM
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cottonwood468

A Bonica, or Nearly Wild or The Fairy rosebush would look good in front of both of those, native plant and the phlox.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2014 at 9:13PM
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BetsyKristl(5)

I have had so many plants go bad on me. The Fairy, which the last poster mentioned, even split itself into three little triplets, which very nearly suffocated each other! It doesn't help that I'm always looking for quick and easy solutions - don't even ask me about yellow archangel, chameleon Plant, all the dead nettles. My wisteria keeps popping up new little sterile wisterias. My neighbor is host to wild goldenrod, Queen Anne's lace, wild rose, trumpet vine, and every invasive weed in Massachusetts - all of which love my fine garden soil. I'm nearing the end of my gardening career, and most of my time is dedicated to eradicating the trouble makers and hoping that nothing else goes wild on me. You'd be amazed how many hybridized plants can turn back on you - not unlike grafted roses.

But I've learned a lot. Most of that Ironweed will go, and I'll try to keep up with cutting back what is left - it is a pretty color, and I'll fill in the newly emptied spaces with nice, well-behaved things like agastache, echinacea, and geraniums. That will leave more space for the lady's bed straw to move in...

    Bookmark   August 22, 2014 at 10:58PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

the title on this post entertains me no end... i smile every time i see it ...

ken

    Bookmark   August 23, 2014 at 8:52AM
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