First recorded in 1810–20; iron + weed1 (Source: dictionary.com)
Early 19th century; earliest use found in Thomas Batchelor (1775–1838), farmer and writer on language. From iron + weed. (Source: lexico.com)
Definitions of Ironweed
any of certain North American composite plants of the genus Vernonia, having tubular, chiefly purple or red disk flowers.
Any of various plants growing as weeds of cultivated land and typically having tough or wiry stems; specifically (a) black or common knapweed, Centaurea nigra (now rare); (b) North American any of several species of the genus Vernonia (family Asteraceae (Compositae)).
: any of a genus (Vernonia) of mostly weedy composite plants usually having alternate leaves and perfect red, purple, or white tubular flowers in terminal cymose heads
Example sentences for Ironweed
His “Albany cycle,” seven novels including “Ironweed,” for which he won the 1984 Pulitzer, are set there.
Ironweed of royal purple, maroon-shot, mingles in illogical harmony with the blue vervain and magenta trumpet-weeds.
He sank deeper amid the ironweed, forgot his errand, and began to dream.
The ironweed was in bloom, and sitting on its purple top the dryfly sang the song of midsummer.
As for the ironweed, it clothes the pastures with a royal purple, so rich a hue it compels the eye, and is a kind of stimulant.
Only one weed seems to hold its own against it, and that is ironweed, a plant like a robust purple aster five or six feet high.