Rent Shop Volunteer Join

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Monday - June 16, 2014

From: Winchester, VA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: General Botany, Plant Identification
Title: Key for Verbesina virginica
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Are the stems of Verbesina virginica hairy? My in-laws have what I believe is Verbesina virginica (blooms in September here in VA) and another wild flower that blooms before it and is yellow. I'd like to dig some up for our woods but it's a bit difficult to find a key I can use. Thanks.

ANSWER:

The stems don't seem to be hairy.   You can read the description from eFloras, the online version of Flora of North America for  Verbesina virginica (Frostweed).  It doesn't mention any hairyness.

Also, I found a paper, Synopsis of Verbesina sect. Ochractinia (Asteraceae) by John Olsen in Plant Systematics and Evolution 149 (47-63) 1985 with a key to the various species of Verbesina.  Here is the introductory statement and the pertinent part of the key leading up to V. virginica:

Artificial Key to the Species of Verbesina sect. Ochractinia

Herbaceous perennials to small trees; leaves alternate, entire to pinnatifid. Heads less than 1.5(-2.0) cm in diameter (excluding the rays), usually numerous, in paniculate capitulescences. Ray florets 1 - 19, ligule white; disc florets (5 -) 13 - 30( - 75), corolla white. Achenes glabrous or pubescent (never dense), winged; pappus of (1-)2(-3) awns. Type species: Verbesina virginica L. Base chromosome number: x = 17.

1.  Leaves pinnately divided or lobed

            ……………

 1.  Leaves not pinnately divided or lobed

            15.  Stems winged (key under both leads if very thin wings present)

                  16.  Ray florets less than or equal to 9 florets per head (if 9, key out under both leads)

                        17.  Involucral bracts pilose

                              18.  Heads more than 1 cm in diameter

                                    19.  Rays 1 – 5……………………13.  V. virginica

The only mention of hairyness is: 17.  Involucral bracts pilose (i.e., The bracts beneath the flowerheads are hairy).

  From Dictionary.com:  Pilose – covered with hair, especially soft hair; furry. 

There is no mention of hairy stems in either the description of eFloras or the Key.

You can see photos from the Archive of Central Texas Plants from the School of Biological Sciences, the University of Texas and also check the photos of stems below form our Image Gallery for hairyness of the stems.  The stems are often winged but do not appear to be hairy.

 

 

From the Image Gallery


Frostweed
Verbesina virginica

Frostweed
Verbesina virginica

Frostweed
Verbesina virginica

More General Botany Questions

Guide for plants for landscaping in Central Texas
October 22, 2008 - I am new to Texas and want nothing but native plants. What is the best book or guide so i can see the plants, flowers, shrubs and trees and know best what part of the yard to plant them in? I live i...
view the full question and answer

Information about prickly pear cactus for school project
October 19, 2012 - Hello my name is Case Danzeiser. I go to a middle school called Clint Small Middle School in Austin, Texas. We are doing a species study on a native Texas plants and animals. I choose to study the pri...
view the full question and answer

Will molasses harm beneficial organisms in my garden?
April 06, 2009 - If I use molasses in the garden, I am hoping this will NOT kill the beneficial nematodes and my earth worms, or other good bugs such as lady bugs? Thanks.
view the full question and answer

Does music affect sunflower growth from Pentwater MI
January 12, 2010 - Does music affect sunflower growth?
view the full question and answer

Problem With Vegetable Garden Soil
June 09, 2013 - We live in Liberty Hill on 25 acres and we are working to restore native grasses and plants. We are ardent supporters of the Wildflower center. I say this because my question is not "typical" of wh...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.