Prairie ironweed (Vernonia fasciculata) is a staple meadow plant, growing tall and blooming in late summer and fall.
It is self-seeding as seeds fall to the ground at the end of the season only to germinate and begin their journey growing up in the spring. Butterflies are very attracted to their flowers. This native plant grows exceptionally well in an organized garden setting.
The American lady butterfly is a widespread species that uses ironweed and slew of other plants in the sunflower family as hosts. They lay their eggs singly on the surface of an ironweed leaf. When caterpillars are hatched, they are solitary and spend all their time munching on leaves.