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Vernonia lettermannii 'Iron Butterfly'

Narrow Leaf Ironweed /

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A butterfly magnet in late summer,  this vigorous perennial shows off masses of tiny, true purple flowers that attract other beneficial insects for a nectar feast. Delicate green foliage gives it a fine texture that is enhanced by grouping. Very tolerant of rough, sandy, infertile, dry soils. 

North Creek Unique™ - This unique assortment has been discovered or introduced to the trade and shared with the world by North Creek Nursery. 


  • Late bloom extends the garden color season
  • A favorite nectar source for butterflies
  • Drought and heat tolerant
  • Perfect for grouping with outstanding texture
  • Thrives in poor, rocky soils and full sun

Homeowner Growing and Maintenance Tips

Grow Vernonia lettermannii in full sun and average to dry soils with good drainage. Periods of inundation are tolerated, but not heavy or saturated soils.

30-36 Inches


30-36 Inches

USDA Hardiness Zone 4-9

Native Range

Prairies, glades, meadows, pastures and roadsides from Minnesota and Nebraska south to Arkansas and Texas.

Native Trivia

Pollinators such as butterflies brush against reproductive parts of plants moving pollen from  one flower to another. This crucial act results in fertilization and seed set assuring food for birds and insects and future generations of plants.

"This rugged beauty shows its tender side with loads of sweet nectar for me and my friends!"

Good Companions
Short's Goldenrod (Solidago shortii)

Characteristics & Attributes

Plan Sub Group
  • Medium to Tall Perennials
  • Sun
  • Well-drained
  • Wide soil tolerance
Soil Moisture Preference
  • Average
  • Dry
  • Moist
  • Moist but well-drained
Attracts Wildlife
  • Beneficial insects
  • Butterflies
Bloom Time
  • Fall
  • Late Summer
Habitat Collection
  • Butterfly
  • Wet Sun
Native Habitat
  • Grassland
Foliage Color
  • Green
  • Border
  • Drought tolerant
  • Mass plant
  • Meadow
  • Naturalizes
Native to
  • Arkansas
  • Oklahoma