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 the 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. For instance, the Flora of North America
only recognizes about 20 species in
Vernonia sensu stricto, 17 of
which are in
North America north of Mexico, with the others being
found in South America.
2.1 North America
2.2 South America
3 See also
5 External links
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Ceratina sp.) on
Vernonia cinerea at Ananthagiri Hills, in Ranga
Reddy district of Andhra Pradesh, India
Several species of Vernonia, including V. calvoana,
V. amygdalina, and V. colorata, are eaten as leaf
vegetables. Common names for these species include bitterleaf, onugbu
in the Igbo language, ewuro and ndole. They are common in most West
African and Central African countries. They are one of the most widely
consumed leaf vegetables of Nigeria, where the onugbu soup is a local
delicacy of the Igbo people, and 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.
Vernonia 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). These leaves are exported from several African
countries and can be purchased in grocery stores aiming to serve
African clients. The roots of V. amygdalina have been used for
gingivitis and toothache due to its proven antimicrobial activity.
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.
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
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).
Vernonia calvoana or bitterleaf, is a common garden plant in many West
African and Central African countries. It is a key ingredient in
ndolé, a national dish of Cameroon.
Psyche (Leptosia nina) on an ash fleabane or little ironweed (Vernonia
cinerea) in Kolkata, West Bengal, India.
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.
Vernonia gigantea or
^ Flann, C (ed) 2009+ Global Compositae Checklist
^ Harold Robinson (1999). "Generic and Subtribal Classification of
American Vernonieae" (PDF). Smithsonian Contributions to Botany. 89.
Retrieved 17 September 2014.
^ Flora of North America: Vernonia
^ Herbal medicine--its use in treating some symptoms of AIDS; 9th
^ Report:INDIGENOUS APPROACHES TO THE HIV/
AIDS SCOURGE IN UGANDA,
Chap. 5 Archived September 28, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
^ 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.
^ 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.
^ "Alamata Pilot Learning Site Diagnosis and Program Design" Archived
July 26, 2011, at the Wayback Machine. IPMS Information Resources
Ethiopia (23 June 2005), p. 12 (accessed 3 March 2009)
^ Veronia calvoana,
^ Flora of North America:
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Vernonia.
Wikispecies has information related to Vernonia
Vernonia Information System". Arid Land Agricultural Research Center.
"Crop fact sheet for V. galamensis". Purdue University Center for New
Plant Products. Retrieved 2006-09-10.
" Multilingual taxonomic information". University of
"Effect of Processing and Preservation Methods on Vitamin C and Total
Carotenoid Levels of some
Vernonia (Bitter Leaf) Species". Retrieved