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White Crownbeard, Frostweed, Iceplant, Virginia crownbeard - Verbesina virginica


Family: Asteraceae - Aster family Genus Common Name: Crownbeard Native Status: NativeDicot Biennial Perennial Herb
Verbesina virginica - White Crownbeard, Frostweed, Iceplant, Virginia crownbeard. There are 18 Verbesina species in North America, with at least one species found in most states. The extreme northwest, extreme northeast, and Minnesota don't have a Verbesina species. The composite flowers of White Crownbeard are, as expected based on the name, white. If I'm interpreting the keys in the online version of Flora of North America correctly, the only other white Verbesina in the United States is V. microptera - Texas Crownbeard - which is found only south Texas.

Of the 18 species, 6, including White Crownbeard, may have winged stems: V. alternifolia, V. helianthoides, V. occidentalis, V. heterophylla, V. virginica, V. microptera.

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Verbesina virginica

Distribution of Verbesina virginica in the United States and Canada:
USDA Plants Distribution Map temporarily unavailable.
Blue=Native; Grey=Introduced

Map from USDA Plants Database:
USDA, NRCS. 2017. The PLANTS Database (http://plants.usda.gov, 13 Dec 2017). National Plant Data Team, Greensboro, NC 27401-4901 USA.

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Site: Walker County, GA Date: 2010-September-06Photographer: Gerald C. Williamson
Nikon D60
Tamron SP 90MM f/2.8 AF Macro
The blossoms of White Crownbeard are white or perhaps a white with an ocher tint. The disk florets are not as bright a white as the ray florets.
Verbesina virginica

Site: Walker County, GA Date: 2010-September-06Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D60
According to Flora of North America, Verbesina virginica normally has 2 or 3 ray florets, but may have only a single one, as shown here. The blossoms will also have between 8 and 12 - occasionally up to 15 - disk florets. These appear to have 9 or 10. The pistil is surrounded tightly by dark purple stamens.
Click on the photo for a larger image
Verbesina virginica

Site: Walker County, GA Date: 2010-September-06Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D60
There may be 100 or blossoms on a plant in heads terminating several branches arising from the upper leaf axils. The leaves are usually more or less lanceolate as in this photo, and are occasionally toothed or have a wavy (sinuate) margin. More rarely they may be lobed.

Verbesina virginica may be up to 7 feet tall.
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Verbesina virginica

Site: Walker County, GA Date: 2010-September-06Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D60
The leaves are alternate (sometime so closely alternate as to appear opposite) with winged petioles. The wings extend down the stems in most cases. The upper stems may not be winged, and I have observed an individual plant without wings among a colony of winged White Crownbeard.
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Verbesina virginica

Site: Walker County, GA Date: Photographer: Jay Clark
This is the source of the "Frostweed" common name.

Photograph used by permission of Jay Clark.
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Verbesina virginica

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All content except USDA Plants Database map Copyright Gerald C. Williamson 2017
Photographs Copyright owned by the named photographer