Verbesina virginica


White crownbeard (Verbesina virginica) is a native herbaceous perennial in the sunflower family (Asteraceae). Other common names include Frostweed, Iceplant, and Virginia Crownbeard. The leaves of Verbesina virginica are alternate, simple and with pinnate major veins. The flowers are in heads, and the heads are terminal and in a corymb. The flowers have five petals and five stamens, and the pappus consists of two awns. The ray flowers are sterile and the disc flowers are perfect. The ovary is inferior, and fruit is an achene. This species gets its name frost weed due to the stem bursting and shooting out frozen sap during freezing weather. An important nectar source for butterflies and also a caterpillar food source for three butterflies: Bordered Patch Chlosyne lacinia, Summer Azure Celastrina neglecta, and Silvery Checkerspot Chlosyne nycteis. Plants of the genus Verbesina mostly have disc and ray flowers but Verbesina walteri has disc only, most have decurrent leaf bases creating winged stems but Verbesina virginica does not all the time, and some other species have yellow flowers. Several plants of this species were and are growing on Allen Acres. We also recently planted Verbesina microptera from south Texas but have not seen it flower.