En EspaŅol

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
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
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

How many plant species are in Maryland
October 31, 2008 - About how many plant species are there in Maryland?
view the full question and answer

Mechanism for Cenizo bush blooming before rain
October 04, 2006 - Why does cenizo (aka barometer bush) bloom before it rains?
view the full question and answer

Trillium phototropism
May 16, 2010 - I'm SURE you haven't had this question before. I live in northern Michigan in a wooded subdivision where we have clouds of wild grandiflorum trilliums growing in the woods on either side of the roa...
view the full question and answer

Clarification for botanical (Latin) names for Herbertia
June 17, 2010 - I am looking for a clarification of scientific names. In the classic wildflower book 'Wildflowers of Texas' the author, Geyata Ajilvsgi, attributes the plant Herbertia with the name Alophia drummon...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants on temperature
October 18, 2005 - Mr.Smarty Plants, I am a student at Hill Freedman Middle school and I have a science fair coming up. I really need a answer to this question "What effect does temperature have on the growth of plants...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center