Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!

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

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

More Wildflowers Questions

Caterpillars on Milkweed in MA
January 23, 2016 - I have found every year a black/red caterpillars on my milkweed. They eat everything! I have never been able to find out what they are or how to get rid of them.
view the full question and answer

How to Propagate Mexican Bush Sage in Marble Falls, Texas
September 14, 2010 - I need advice on when, how to separate Mexican bush sage. Ours is happy and HUGE but is now sprouting from the roots at the base. Since we've been so successful with this plant, we want to divide it...
view the full question and answer

Planting for wildlife in Union County, New Jersey.
September 23, 2010 - I would like to get rid of my front lawn, which is small, and replace with wildflowers or something that bees, birds, butterflies would like. Live in Union County, New Jersey, which is central-north....
view the full question and answer

When do bluebonnets bloom in Austin
January 03, 2008 - When do Blue Bonnets bloom in Austin? We have someone who wants to come visit and see the Blue Bonnets and I want to tell them the right time of year.. Thanks!!
view the full question and answer

Replacing non-native invasives with native grasses and wildflowers from Round Rock TX
April 04, 2012 - I have a small piece of property (1.5 AC) East of Austin, Texas that get's overgrown with weedy vegetation (johnson grass, dandelion, and some tall yellow flowering plant that I see all over the medi...
view the full question and answer

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