White Crownbeard


A crown of flowers, like might be at a wedding, adorn in beauty.

Several years ago I walked into Matanzas Pass Preserve with a new expensive Canon camera, that I hardly knew how to work, I just wanted to practice taking pictures.  It was in an oak hammock when I found a few small plants with whte flowers and I happily took their pictures. Shortly after, they died off and never returned to the Preserve. It was a while before I learned that the little white flowers were the White Crownbeard, Verbesina virginica, a member of the Aster family.

It was the day after Thanksgiving that I found the White Crownbeard again in the OK Slough Pine forest in Hendry County. Only this time it was a fully mature plant six feet high.  Crownbeard grows from a rhizome in the ground. The first leaves out of the ground form a basal rosette made up of leaves with wavy and deeply lobed margins.  Some basal leaves are up to one foot in length. Coming out of the rosette was a single erect and thick stem.  Alternate leaves are covered with tiny hairs giving a sand paper like feel. Leaves get smaller going up the stem.

At the top of the stem, several flower heads are gathered in clusters of Aster shaped sun flowers.  One to five dull white ray florets surround a disc with up to ten greenish tubular disc florets. There were easily more than 100 flowers at the top of the plant.

There are six other species in the genus Verbesina that reside in the open hammocks in most of the counties in Florida

It was nice to see an old friend again.


Dorothy Rodwell