The deep purple, Thistle-like flowers of the Ironweed enliven our roadsides and low meadows with their intense colouring from July to September. The tall, branching stalk is smooth or rough, and grows from three to nine feet in height. The narrowly oblong or lance-shaped and pointed leaves are alternating and finely toothed. From twenty to thirty bell-shaped flowers are borne on short, branched stems, and form broad, flat-topped clusters. The small bracts of the leafy, brownish purple cup are tipped with spreading bristles. The feathery flowers are often mistaken for those of an Aster, but as they are composed entirely of tubular ray florets and lack the central yellow disc florets of the latter, they are easily distinguished. The Ironweed ranges from New England to Georgia and Mississippi, and west to Missouri and Minnesota.