The large yellow flowers of Wingstem feature drooping, reflexed petals around a central disk of florets compared variously to a pin cushion or mop head. Before the blossoms appear, the plant resembles Ironweed, prompting the additional common name of Yellow Ironweed. Wingstem is aggressive and therefore may not be suitable for small landscape plantings.
The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation recognizes Wingstem as having special value to pollinators because it supports a great diversity of bees and wasps, and is a host plant for Chlosyne nycteis (Silvery Checkerspot butterfly,) Celastrina neglecta (Summer Azure butterfly,) and Basilodes pepita (Gold Moth.) Despite the great ecological value of this species and frequent occurrence in native prairies, Wingstem is often left out of field guides.