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VERBESINA alternifolia

Image of Verbesina alternifolia

Gerald L. Klingaman

Family

Asteraceae

Botanical Name

VERBESINA alternifolia

Plant Common Name

Wingstem, Yellow Ironweed

General Description

Though rarely seen outside of natural areas, wingstem is a tall, hardy perennial that's found in the prairies, old fields, ditches, streamsides and open forests of eastern North America. In late summer or early fall it produces informal, but pretty clusters of yellow daisies. It is often found growing with ironweed (Vernonia) and blooms at the same time, so another of its common names is "yellow ironweed."

The tall stems of this wildflower have distinctive green wings with small, white hairs. The stems are lined with elongated, green, lanceolate leaves that alternate. In late summer it produces terminal clusters of ragged, yellow daisies with greenish centers. These are lightly fragrant and pollinated by bees and butterflies. The larvae of the silvery checkerspot butterfly and gold moth feed on its foliage. Its seedheads may be visited by foraging birds but are not a favored food source.

In the wild, wingstem favors locations with full to partial sun and average soil with good fertility. It is quite adaptable and may even grow in difficult soils as long as moisture is plentiful. Though rarely seen in the garden, this is a great plant for natural areas or wild gardens.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    10 - 1

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    3 - 10

  • Plant Type

    Perennial

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun

  • Height

    3'-8' / 0.9m - 2.4m

  • Width

    2'-4' / 0.6m - 1.2m

  • Bloom Time

    Late Summer, Early Fall

  • Native To

    North America, Northeastern United States, Mid-Atlantic United States, Southeastern United States, North-Central United States, Central United States, South-Central United States, Canada

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral, Alkaline

  • Soil Drainage

    Average

  • Soil type

    Clay, Loam, Sand

  • Growth Rate

    Fast

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Upright/Erect

  • Seasonal Interest

    Summer, Fall

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    Yellow, Yellow Green

  • Fruit Color

    Brown

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Green

  • Fragrant Flowers

    Yes

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    No

  • Foliage Texture

    Medium

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    No

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Mixed Border, Wildflower

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Attracts

    Butterflies

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes