Ironweed ~ Vernonia
Image by: wintersown
Vernonia Gigantea Seed Heads
Ironweed is a beautiful wildflower closely related to Asters. It makes aster-like blossoms toward the end of summer and continues blooming into mid-autumn. The seeds are dispersed by the "fluff and fly" method, as they mature they grow their own parasols to be carried off with the wind to a new location far from the parent plant.
Seed collection is easy....simply grasp the the fluff with your fingers and remove it from the plant. The seeds are located at the very base of the fluff held in a tight cluster. They are quite small, light to medium brown, the width of a fine needle and about a 1/4" long. Because there is so much chaff with vernonia they are often traded as seeds and chaff mixed together. Sowing instructions should mention patting both seeds and chaff together onto the soil surface.