Stem. - Leafy, usually tall. Leaves. - Alternate, somewhat lance-oblong. Flower-heads. - An intense red-purple, loosely clustered, composed entirely of tubular flowers.
. Along the roadsides and low meadows near the coast the iron-weed adds its deep purple hues to the color-pageant of late August. By the uninitiated the plant is often mistaken for an aster, but a moment's inspection will discover that the minute flowers which compose each flower-head are all tubular in shape, and that the ray or strap-shaped blossoms which an aster must have are wanting. These flower-heads are surrounded by an involucre composed of small scales which are tipped with a tiny point and are usually of a purplish color also.