This section is from the book "An Illustrated Flora Of The Northern United States, Canada And The British Possessions Vol3", by Nathaniel Lord Britton, Addison Brown. Also available from Amazon: An Illustrated Flora of the Northern United States, Canada and the British Possessions. 3 Volume Set..
Erect branching perennial herbs, or some tropical species shrubby, with alternate (very rarely oposite), in our species sessile leaves, and discoid cymose-paniculate heads of purple pink or white tubular flowers. Involucre hemispheric, campanulate or oblong-cylindric, its bracts imbricated in several or many series. Receptacle flat, naked. Corolla regular, 5-cleft. Anthers sagittate at the base, not caudate. Style-branches subulate, hispidulous their whole length. Achenes 8-10-ribbed, truncate. Pappus of our species in 2 series, the inner of numerous roughened capillary bristles, the outer of much shorter small scales or stout bristles. [Named after William Vernon, English botanist.]
More than 500 species, of wide distribution in warm-temperate regions, most abundant in South America. Besides the following, several others occur in the southern and southwestern United States. Type species: Serratula noveboracensis L. Heads large, nearly 1' broad; involucral bracts with long filiform tips.
1. V. crinita.
Heads smaller, 6" broad or less.
Involucral bracts with filiform tips.
Leaves lanceolate, relatively narrow; pappus purple, rarely green.
2. V. noveboracensis.
Leaves oval to lanceolate, relatively broad; pappus yellowish.
3. V. glauca.
Involucral bracts acute or obtuse, not filiform-tipped. Leaves linear, 1-nerved.
4. V. marginata.
Leaves lanceolate to oblong-lanceolate.
Leaves glabrous or merely puberulent beneath. Heads loosely cymose.
5. V. altissima.
Heads densely cymose.
6. V. fasciculata.
Leaves tomentose beneath.
Involucral bracts squarrose, acuminate.
7. V. Baldwinii.
Involucral bracts obtuse or acute, appressed.
8. V. missurica.
V. crinata Raf. New'Flora N. A. 4: 77. 1836.
Vernonia arkansana DC. Prodr. 7: 264. 1838.
Cacalia arkansana Kuntze, Rev. Gen. Pl. 969. 1891.
Stout, glabrate or finely rough-pubescent, 8°-120 high, simple or little branched. Leaves narrowly lanceolate, finely denticulate, acuminate, 3'-12' long, 3"-12" wide; heads stout-peduncled, the peduncles thickened above; involucre hemispheric, 9"-12" broad, 50-80-flowered; bracts green, or the upper reddish, very squarrose, all filiform-subulate from a broader base and equalling the head, the inner ones somewhat wider below; achenes glabrous or hispidulous on the ribs; pappus purplish.
Serratula noveboracensis L. Sp. Pl. 818. 1753. V. noveboracensis Willd. Sp. Pl. 3: 1632. 1804. C. noveboracensis Kuntze, Rev. Gen. Pl. 323. 1891. Vernonia noveboracensis tomentosa Britton, Mem. Torr. Club 5: 311. 1894.
Roughish-pubescent or glabrate, 3°-9° high. Leaves lanceolate or narrowly oblong, serrulate, 3'-10' long, 5"-I2" wide, acuminate or acute; heads peduncled; involucre hemispheric, 20-40-flowered, 4"-$" in diameter; bracts brownish-purple or greenish, ovate or ovate-lanceolate, with subulate spreading tips usually twice or three times their own length, or some of the lower linear-subulate, the upper sometimes merely acute; flowers deep purple, rarely white; achenes hispidulous on the ribs; pappus purple or purplish, rarely green.
In moist soil, Massachusetts to Pennsylvania, North Carolina, West Virginia, Mississippi and Missouri. Erroneously recorded west to Minnesota. July-Sept.