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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.

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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.

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Saturday - January 29, 2005

From: Spring Branch, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Wildflowers
Title: Smarty Plants on Virginia crownbeard
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I recently moved to the Hill Country and notice some "weeds" that seemed to into explode into ice formations when the temperature first fell below freezing. Can you tell me the name of this plant and a little bit about it?

ANSWER:

The common name is frost weed, ice weed, or Virginia crownbeard (Verbesina virginica). It is a member of the Family Asteraceae, the aster family. When the temperature goes below freezing its sap freezes and bursts through the stem to form beautiful ice sculptures. The first freeze of the winter gives the most spectacular sculptures. In the spring it has white blossoms. You can read about it in the Native Plants Database. Be sure to click on "Search Images" from the menu at the top on the frost weed page so that you can see pictures of the plant in the spring.

 

From the Image Gallery


Frostweed
Verbesina virginica

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