The genus Veronia has over 1000 species and is a member of the aster family. The name honors an English botanist, William Vernon. Many species of veronia are native to North and South America, and others come from Africa and Southeast Asia.
Veronia is the Botanical name for the native ironweed that pops up and self-seeds in my Midwest garden. It is a tall plant and has clusters of dark purple flowers. Its full name is Veronia altissima.
The dark green leaves are long and narrow and oval in shape. The plant is deer resistant and attracts hummingbirds and butterflies. It is a good cut flower to add to bouquets of blue mist flower, golden rod, zinnias, and marigolds that all bloom at the same time in my yard.
It is native to the Eastern United States, north to New York state and Canada. It grows 3-7 feet tall and sometimes even higher, so it is a plant to look up to (literally), especially when one is cutting the flowers.
It likes moist soil best but is not really fussy and blooms July through September/October depending on the weather.
One often sees Veronia on roadsides and in fields and ditches. The wind disperses the seeds, which explains why it is a surprise when it appears in our gardens like an uninvited guest.
At first, I used to cut it down thinking it was just a weed, which in a way it is. But the dark purple flowers now make me happy that it arrived uninvited.
This is Moya Andrews and today we focused on Veronia.