Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Stemless Ironweed - Vernonia acaulis   (Walter) Gleason
Members of Asteraceae:
Members of Vernonia with account distribution info or public map:
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Section 6 » Order Asterales » Family Asteraceae
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Author(Walter) Gleason
DistributionLower Piedmont, Sandhills, and southwestern Coastal Plain; disjunct to Carteret County ("dry sandy soil between Newport and Cherry Point").

A rather limited range -- NC to south-central GA.
AbundanceFairly common to common in most of its range; rare to Carteret County.
HabitatIn the Piedmont, mainly in dry to mesic, open woodlands, at times in rocky woods. However, in the Sandhills and Coastal Plain mainly in more moist settings -- moist to mesic Longleaf Pine-Wiregrass savannas and flatwoods, blackwater streamhead ecotones, moist sandy soil of open woods. In general in lightly wooded settings, in partial shade.
PhenologyFlowering and fruiting late June-August (-September).
IdentificationStemless Ironweed gets it name from the near lack of leaves on the stem, making it appear to be (but not actually) a long flower stalk. Elliptical basal leaves form a rosette flat on the ground, from which the nearly naked stem (leaves slender and small) rises 2-3 feet and sports an open inflorescence of pink-purple heads. Heads are all disk florets; rays are lacking. Can be confused with Elephantopus nudatus, and they may occur together, but that species has 3 large triangular bracts beneath each cluster of heads.
Taxonomic CommentsHybrids with V. angustifolia occur in scattered locations and have broad basal leaves and many stem leaves; they have been given the name V. x georgiana.

Other Common Name(s)Leafless Ironweed
State RankS4? [S4]
Global RankG4
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B.A. SorrieSame data. RichmondPhoto_natural
B.A. SorrieSandhills Game Land, dry longleaf upland, Aug 2014. RichmondPhoto_natural

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