No. 2 in a Series of 253,486.

IRONWEED (Vernonia).—The stately ironweeds are among the most magnificent of all late-summer flowers, and much prized as ornamentals in gardens where there is room to display their regal habit to good advantage. Tall Ironweed (V. altissima) may grow to a height of ten feet or more and form a clump as wide as it is tall; the somewhat shorter New York Ironweed (V. noveboracensis) still requires a larger space than that usually allotted to garden flowers.

Until the introduction of European mining methods, ironweeds provided most of the metallic ore used on the North American continent, and the ironweed crop was one of the chief sources of wealth for the tribes of the Northeast. The Honniasont used bolt cutters to harvest the stalks, which were stripped of their leaves and then smelted in wooden furnaces to remove flowers, aphids, and other impurities. The molten iron was then molded into large beads called wampus (the masculine form of wampum), which the smiths of the tribe formed into food processors, bicycles, and other useful items.

For obvious reasons, ironweed should not be planted close to overhead electrical wires. The stalks of ironweed are, of course, exceptionally strong; but if they do break, welding is usually required. Ironweed repels gophers and groundhogs but attracts nittany lions. In the language of flowers, ironweed signifies torpor.


From Dr. Boli’s Encyclopedia of Misinformation.

Glass. Students of chemistry have long suspected that glass is a slow-flowing liquid rather than a solid, but their suspicions have been kept from the general public for fear of widespread panic.