We came across this gorgeous ironweed species back in July 2021 at Pedernales Falls State Park. Like many other Texas species, it was named after Ferdinand Lindheimer, the botanist who was the first permanent-resident collector in Texas. I have a book about his journals that I’ve been meaning to read for a year and this might be the year I actually tackle it! This particular species is very much a central Texas plant, and on iNaturalist you can easily see all of the observations starting in DFW and trailing down along I-35 to San Antonio and then west towards Kerrville. There are a smattering of sightings west of this area to San Angelo and Abilene across the private property ranches out there and I’m sure it is more prevalent than we know because no one is out there documenting their observations.
I really love the feathery, needle-like leaves and the thick hairs that cover the phyllaries around the flowers, which is where the wooly part comes from. The color combination of green, purple, and grey really suit it to standing out against the juniper forests of the limestone covered Hill Country. If I had a bit of a drier area to grow it I might consider finding seeds. We could probably try it in our cactus bed but I fear it would still get too much water and not like it. I am growing some Vernonia more suited to east Texas in my native plant bed in the edible garden and I’m hoping those spread a bit this coming year.
Keep an eye out for this gorgeous plant when you are in central Texas!