Appalachia Appalachia Through My Eyes

Appalachia Through My Eyes – Ironweed, the Purple Robe

My life in appalachia Ironweed the purple robe

Roadsides and fields in Southern Appalachia have put on their purple robe. Ironweed is in full bloom. This time of year always feels old to me. The brightness of flower and vegetable gardens have mostly faded, and even the trees take on a lackluster look as they get ready for their show of fall color.

I think of Ironweed as the last hurray of summer. It’s warm purple robe hugs the curvy roads I drive. It almost seems to be warning me that Old Man Winter is on the way and I need to store up the beauty and warmth that’s left from summer so I can pull it out on a cold winter’s day and know summer will surely return again.

Tipper

Appalachia Through My Eyes – A series of photographs from my life in Southern Appalachia.

 

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23 Comments

  • Reply
    Tipper
    September 10, 2015 at 11:59 am

    Colleeners
    Thank you for the great comment! I did not know about Iron Wood trees-now I do : )
    Tipper
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Celebrating and Preserving the
    Culture of Appalachia
    http://www.blindpigandtheacorn.com

  • Reply
    Colleeners
    September 6, 2015 at 8:23 am

    There is such a thing as Iron wood trees.

  • Reply
    Shirley
    September 5, 2015 at 11:14 am

    Guess I should have previewed, lol. I meant home place, not someplace; so much for autocorrect!

  • Reply
    Shirley
    September 5, 2015 at 11:13 am

    I love the beautiful purple of ironweed blooms in late summer, and learned a lot about ironweed from this post. However, I am very grateful for the post from Granny Norma on jerusalem artichoke! I had dug up some tubers several years ago from my old someplace in MS when there was nothing but brown stalks and thought I’d dug up a dahlia. However, I never had dahlias, but ended up with these bright and cheery tall sunflower/daisy looking plants that I thought had come from birdseed. But when they came back every year, figured out that must not have been the case – now I know what they are!

  • Reply
    Rev. RB
    September 3, 2015 at 11:47 pm

    Awww, so pretty. Wish we had some here. Seems we should, but I haven’t seen any. Will have to look closer at roadsides when we’re out. I am seeing Ragweed and Goldenrod here though, also signs Fall, one of my favorite times of the year, is right around the corner.
    God bless.
    RB
    <><

  • Reply
    Granny Norma
    September 3, 2015 at 10:16 pm

    Oh Tipper – you know what else is blooming right now? Jerusalem artichoke (perennial sunflower / wild sunflower) which is a wonderful wild food. They look like tall yellow daisies (3 to 6 feet high depending on growing conditions.) The centers are dark yellow, not black like black eyed Susan which is still blooming. The leaves are dark green , pointed and rough in texture. Remember where you’ve seen them so you can go back and dig the tubers after frost. You can cook them or eat them raw. They don’t store well so leave what you don’t need in the ground. you can harvest until early spring. Free food!

  • Reply
    Pamela Danner
    September 3, 2015 at 4:36 pm

    It sure is a pretty plant. It looks like little purple powder puffs.
    Pam
    scrap-n-sewgranny.blogspot.com

  • Reply
    Eva Nell Mull Wike, PhD
    September 3, 2015 at 3:30 pm

    Tipper: Your post is so interesting! I have never heard the term PURPLE ROBE but Iron Weed is one of my favorite weeds! We have it growing along the creek we cross when we walk from our house to the County Club – which is really ‘in the country’ but just minutes from our house. When is a good time to dig the iron weed to transplant it? I have a ‘New York Garden’ which has become a ‘weed patch’ so I am going to dig some iron weed and plant it in the N.Y. Garden.
    Hope your September is near perfect!
    Eva Nell

  • Reply
    Quinn
    September 3, 2015 at 2:01 pm

    I’m getting a lot better at taking each day with its own beauties and not thinking ahead or behind very much. I got a lot of practice last winter, just trying to put one foot in front of the other, day after day, and trying to keep everybody fed and safe and cheerful. Now, any day that isn’t thigh-deep in snow is a beautiful day, and I’m not rushing the season! 😉

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    September 3, 2015 at 1:59 pm

    An old man I worked with about 40 years ago called the asters that began blooming in late summer the ‘farewell-to-summer’ flowers. It is so fitting but also kinda melancholy, another summer gone……
    One notable thing about ironweed is that cows tend to leave it alone in the pasture.

  • Reply
    Crystal Richmond
    September 3, 2015 at 1:59 pm

    Though cold weather means pain to me .. I thouroughly enjoy the season changes.. It reminds me of “Life” we all go through Seasons in our Lives. Some beautiful ; Some not so beautiful. But a sweet reminder that we are all still here to keep trying .

  • Reply
    Brenda Kay Ledford
    September 3, 2015 at 12:27 pm

    Tipper,
    I love to see Iron weed in bloom. Yes, it does speak the last words for summer. Mountain wildflowers are my favorite.

  • Reply
    Ken
    September 3, 2015 at 12:22 pm

    Tipper,
    It don’t matter to me what they are called, I think they’re pretty. I love the coming of Fall and Winter. I haven’t seen any Ironweed on my property, but that don’t mean there ain’t none.
    I missed all those big, white blooms of the Cucumber Tree
    this year, and I got several. The cucumber pods are bright red,
    and lots use to fall on my road…Ken

  • Reply
    Bob Aufdemberge
    September 3, 2015 at 10:55 am

    Ironweed is pretty tough stuff. I used to pull up a stalk of it, strip off the leaves and blossoms, and use it as a riding crop to urge our old saddle mare out of that rough trot that she didn’t like to go faster than.

  • Reply
    Tipper
    September 3, 2015 at 10:37 am

    Chuck-no it is a different plant than Chicory : )
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Celebrating and Preserving the
    Culture of Appalachia
    http://www.blindpigandtheacorn.com

  • Reply
    Dolores
    September 3, 2015 at 10:33 am

    I always wondered what that purple flower was. Now I know and can appreciate it even more. I enjoy the fall blooming flowers as much as my spring and summer ones.

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    September 3, 2015 at 10:28 am

    Tipper,
    I love to see Ironweed in bloom. I had a big clump behind our chicken house area, but seems to have disappeared when we put in the chicken yard.
    I read where Ironweed was nicknamed because it was fibrous and tough to cut or pull.
    It is also a medicinal plant and a member of the asteracae/composite family…I really don’t know as I didn’t aster! Pun intended!
    I know that it blends well with Goldenrod, the Sulphur butterfly, Monarch butterfly and a day full of sunshine with puffy white clouds. Just beautiful! That picture in my mind makes me want to romp through the meadow with a woven basket on my arm! I wish I could….Oh, but wait a minute, there are still the “chiggers”, “beggar lice” and “burdocks”… I keep forgetting about those nemeses.
    Thanks Tipper,
    Great picture, and yes Fall is on it’s way with Winter not far behind! My bones feel it sometimes on the low humidity days!

  • Reply
    Chuck Howell
    September 3, 2015 at 10:18 am

    Is Ironweed also called “Chicory?”

  • Reply
    Tipper
    September 3, 2015 at 9:45 am

    Miss Cindy-seems like I read it was called Ironweed because it was to tough for animals to graze on : )
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Celebrating and Preserving the
    Culture of Appalachia
    http://www.blindpigandtheacorn.com

  • Reply
    Tamela
    September 3, 2015 at 9:17 am

    Your description of early fall is beautifully expressed!

  • Reply
    Susan landis
    September 3, 2015 at 8:51 am

    I always look forward to ironweed and goldenrod blooming as the early signs of fall, but then I like fall better than summer.

  • Reply
    Mike McLain
    September 3, 2015 at 8:43 am

    We already have an early bird sourwood tree that has started turning red. We have several other sourwoods, but they are apparently on a different clock, although all of the sourwoods are in sight of each other on the same northwest-facing slope.
    We are also seeing the Ironweed, although I didn’t know what they were until today.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    September 3, 2015 at 7:15 am

    Does Iron weed have iron in it? Wonder how it came to be called Ironweed and how can something so pretty be called a weed?

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