Sulfaweed, Broadleaf Sumpweed, Annual Marsh Elder

Iva annua L.

Asteraceae (Sunflower Family)


Sulfaweed is a native, warm-season annual in the Sunflower family. It is also called Broadleaf Sumpweed, Broadleaf Marshelder, Seacoast Sumpweed, and Pelocote. The plant can grow from 2 to 6 feet or 0.6 to 1.8 meters tall. It has enough hair to be rough to the touch. Its root system includes a short taproot and fibrous rootlets.     The leaves are situated in pairs across from each other, or opposite, on the stem and have dentate or toothed margins. They are lanceolate, ovate, or broadly ovate in shape. Each leaf has three major veins visible on the lower or inner leaf. The upper leaf surface is green and sparsely covered with short hairs. The lower surface is light green to green and moderately covered with short hairs. Longer hairs can occur at the basal margins.     Sulfaweed blooms in the summer and fall, typically from July to November. A key characteristic is the presence of many small, leaflike bracts around every flower in the flowering stem. Flowerheads can measure 2 to 8 inches or 5 to 20 cm long.     The forage value of Sulfaweed is fair for wildlife and when the plant is young, fair for livestock. It also provides food and shelter to many insects, serving as a larval host for some moth and beetle species. 


Sulfaweed is widely distributed across the eastern and central parts of the United States. This plant grows in moist soils in disturbed areas, roadsides, river bottom prairies, croplands, and coastal bermudagrass pastures. It is commonly found in the inland salt and brackish marshes along the Gulf Coast in region 02.