From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
For the town, see Vernonia, Oregon.
Vernonia baldwinii.jpg
Vernonia baldwinii
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Asterales
Family: Asteraceae
Tribe: Vernonieae
Genus: Vernonia
  • Vernonia sect. Baccharoides (L. ex Moench) Moench ex Gleason
  • Dolosanthus Klatt
  • Eremosis (DC.) Gleason
  • Baccharodes L. ex Kuntze
  • Bracheilema R.Br. ex R.Br.
  • Vernonia subsect. Lepidella (Oliv. & Hiern) S.B.Jones
  • Vernonia sect. Lepidella Oliv. & Hiern
  • Vernonia sect. Euvernonia DC.
  • Lessingianthus subg. Oligocephalus H.Rob.
  • Triplotaxis Hutch.
  • Leiboldia Schltdl. ex Gleason
  • Leiboldia Schltdl.
  • Behen Hill
  • Punduana Steetz
  • Cheliusia Sch.Bip. ex Sch.Bip.
  • Aostea Buscal. & Muschl.
  • Vernonia subsect. Centrapalus (Cass.) S.B.Jones
  • Claotrachelus Zoll. & Moritz ex Zoll.
  • Cyanopis Blume
  • Vernonia subsect. Stengelia Sch.Bip. ex Walp.

Vernonia is a genus of about 1000 species of forbs and shrubs in the family Asteraceae. Some species are known as Ironweed. Some species are edible and of economic value. They are known for having intense purple flowers. The genus is named for English botanist William Vernon. There are numerous distinct subgenera and subsections in this genus. This has led some botanists to divide this large genus into several distinct genera.[2] For instance, the Flora of North America only recognizes about 20 species, 17 of which are in North America north of Mexico, with the other two or three being found in South America.[3]


Several species of Vernonia, including V. calvoana, V. amygdalina, and V. colorata, are eaten as leaf vegetables. Common names for these species include bitterleaf, ewuro, ndole and onugbu. They are common in most West African and Central African countries. They are one of the most widely consumed leaf vegetables of Cameroon, where they are a key ingredient of Ndolé. The leaves have a sweet and bitter taste. They are sold fresh or dried, and are a typical ingredient in egusi soup.

V. amygdalina is well known as a medicinal plant with several uses attributed to it, including for diabetes, fever reduction, and recently a non-pharmaceutical solution to persistent fever, headache, and joint pain associated with AIDS (an infusion of the plant is taken as needed).[4][5] These leaves are exported from several African countries and can be purchased in grocery stores aiming to serve African clients for about $1.50/225gm pkg. frozen. The roots of V. amygdalina have been used for gingivitis and toothache due to its proven antimicrobial activity.[6]

In Brazil, V. condensata (commonly known as "figatil" or "necroton") is traditionally used as an analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antithermal, antianemic, antibacterial, liver tonic, hepatoprotective, and antiulcerogenic agent.[7]

Vernonia galamensis is used as an oilseed in East Africa. It is grown in many parts of Ethiopia, especially around the city of Harar, with an average seed yield of 2 to 2.5 t/ha. It is reported that the Ethiopian strains of Vernonia have the highest oil content, up to 41.9% with up to 80% vernolic acid, and is used in paint formulations, coatings plasticizers, and as a reagent for many industrial chemicals.[8]

Vernonia species are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including Coleophora vernoniaeella (which feeds exclusively on the genus) and Schinia regia (which feeds exclusively on V. texana).


Psyche (Leptosia nina) on an Ash Fleabane or Little ironweed (Vernonia cinerea) in Kolkata, West Bengal, India.
Ironweed (Vernonia altissima)

Species of this genus are found in South America, Africa, Southeast Asia, and North America. Vernonia species are well known for hybridizing between similar species in areas of overlapping ranges. There are approximately 1000 species of Vernonia. A partial species list is given below.

North America[edit]

South America[edit]



Different species, views & aspects[edit]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Flann, C (ed) 2009+ Global Compositae Checklist
  2. ^ Harold Robinson (1999). "Generic and Subtribal Classification of American Vernonieae". Smithsonian Contributions to Botany 89. Retrieved 17 September 2014. 
  3. ^ Flora of North America: Vernonia
  4. ^ Herbal medicine--its use in treating some symptoms of AIDS; 9th International AIDS Conference
  6. ^ TRADITIONAL MEDICINE DEVELOPMENT FOR MEDICAL AND DENTAL PRIMARY HEALTH CARE DELIVERY SYSTEM IN AFRICA. African Journal of Traditional, Complementary and Alternative Medicines. Vol. 2, Num. 1, 2005, pp. 46-61
  7. ^ Jucélia Barbosa da Silva, Vanessa dos Santos Temponi, Carolina Miranda Gasparetto, et al. (2013). "Vernonia condensata Baker (Asteraceae): A Promising Source of Antioxidants". Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity. Article ID 698018. doi:10.1155/2013/698018. 
  8. ^ "Alamata Pilot Learning Site Diagnosis and Program Design" IPMS Information Resources Portal - Ethiopia (23 June 2005), p. 12 (accessed 3 March 2009)
  9. ^ Flora of North America: Vernonia gigantea