Vernonia fasciculata Michx.
Family: Asteraceae
common ironweed, prairie ironweed, smooth ironweed
Vernonia fasciculata image
Robert W. Freckmann  
Etymology: Vernonia: for William Vernon, an English botanist
Plants: erect, perennial, 2'-6' tall forb; stems often reddish to purple
Leaves: alternate, toothed, longer than wide, lower surface hairless and pitted, upper surface smooth, center stem leaves 3" - 7" long, lance-like
Flowers: head up to 1/3" wide with violet-purple disk flowers; inflorescence 1 1/2" - 4" wide, flat, dense cluster; blooms July-Sept.
Fruits: hairy, dry seed on brownish/purple, fluffy pappus
Habitat: full sun; wet to moderate moisture; prairies, meadows, pastures; in sandy, loamy soil
Conservation Status: Native