Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Frostweed flowers

with 26 comments

Frostweed Flowers 9033

You’ve recently seen a couple of pictures of frostweed ice in Great Hills Park, but I haven’t showed you any pictures of frostweed flowers in a long time. Here, then, from September 29th of last year, also in Great Hills Park, are some flower heads of Verbesina virginica, a species that is pleasingly white in two quite different ways and temperatures.

© 2014 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 25, 2014 at 6:02 AM

26 Responses

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  1. You continue to fill in so many blanks for me. Is this what I’ve seen in bridal bouquets? I’ll have to ask around.


    February 25, 2014 at 6:13 AM

    • I can’t imagine that this is what you’ve seen in bridal bouquets, Georgette, because I think florists, reflecting the taste of much of the public, would consider frostweed a weed. The plants are erect and often grow as tall as a person, with the flower heads at the top. At the wedding of a couple of native plant people, on the other hand, these flowers might be welcome.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 25, 2014 at 6:42 AM

    • Gypsophila or ‘baby’s breath’ is often used in wedding bouquets, I don’t know if maybe that is what you are thinking of.


      February 25, 2014 at 8:49 AM

  2. Thanks for the burst of floral exuberance–I needed that. It’s bitter cold again and snow and rain have been prevalent. You gave me a bit of Spring.


    February 25, 2014 at 6:54 AM

    • I sympathize, Sally, as I don’t do well in the cold. This picture is from last fall, but in Austin spring is beginning now, and I’ve seen half a dozen redbud trees blossoming as I’ve driven around my part of town over the last few days. We’ve had mostly gray skies, though (and it’s drizzly this morning), so I haven’t been able to take pictures of any of those flowering trees.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 25, 2014 at 7:12 AM

  3. This is very beautiful.


    February 25, 2014 at 7:01 AM

    • It is, and it’s an under-appreciated flower. Frostweed blooms in our autumn.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 25, 2014 at 7:18 AM

      • Are people allowed to pick wildflowers such as this, if they wish to? Meaning, are some of these wildflowers protected and therefore not to be collected or touched?


        February 25, 2014 at 5:50 PM

        • There’s no law against picking wildflowers in general, but nature preserves or public parks might prohibit digging up plants, picking flowers, removing fossils, etc. Frostweed is an abundant wildflower and is in no danger at all; I see it growing in many places around town.

          Steve Schwartzman

          February 25, 2014 at 9:32 PM

          • Do you sometimes bring home bouquets of wildflowers then? 😉


            February 26, 2014 at 7:07 AM

            • Yes, we occasionally do. Some species of wildflower hold up well after they’re cut, while others wilt quickly. If you follow the link in my reply to Heyjude’s comment just below yours, you’ll see two autumn species that hold up well and complement each other.

              Steve Schwartzman

              February 26, 2014 at 7:25 AM

              • Oh that’s good to know especially as I was wondering about the way some wildflowers wilt so quickly once picked.


                February 26, 2014 at 7:31 AM

  4. A weed is just a flower in the wrong place. These blooms are very delicate and would look lovely in a bouquet (wedding or otherwise).


    February 25, 2014 at 8:46 AM

    • I’m with you, Jude. Just in Texas there are dozens of plants with “weed” in their common name, but I’ve found plenty in them to admire and photograph. A decade ago my wife and I were invited to a wedding in the autumn and on our way there we stopped at a field to gather bunches of gayfeather and Maximilian sunflowers to put in vases on some of the tables at the reception. The bright purple and yellow made for excellent bouquets.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 25, 2014 at 10:00 AM

  5. A truly lovely flower!

    The Editors of Garden Variety

    February 25, 2014 at 10:29 AM

  6. Lovely photo. 😀

    Raewyn's Photos

    February 25, 2014 at 11:38 AM

  7. […] at that, given the long ovipositor trailing behind it. What I do know is that the leaf is from a frostweed plant, Verbesina virginica, and that I took this picture on October 30, 2013, in an undeveloped lot […]

  8. I finally figured out today that the frostweed with the pretty yellow flower is Helianthemum canadense, which is a U.S. native, but only comes as far west as Iowa and Missouri. I think “ours” is much prettier.


    February 26, 2014 at 9:24 PM

    • I see that that’s in a botanical family I’m not familiar with, the Cistaceae. In looking further I found that Helianthemum georgianum is listed for Travis County, which includes Austin, but I’ve never seen that wildflower. It’s one of the ones in Wildflowers of the Texas Hill Country that’s still on my to-find list.

      I also learned that Helianthemum canadense is called frostweed for the same reason Verbesina virginica is. It sounds like you know the yellow one from Iowa, and perhaps you even saw it do its ice trick when you lived there.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 26, 2014 at 9:48 PM

      • Actually, I never saw frostweed do its trick until I reached the Texas hill country, I wondered what the flower looked like. Since this was long before I found your site or paid any real attention to wildflowers, I just went to the internet, Googled “frostweed flower” and turned up the yellow bloom.
        After I met the correct flower on your site, I thought, “Whoops.” I always had meant to go back and find out what the yellow flower actually was, but but hadn’t done so until tonight.


        February 26, 2014 at 9:56 PM

  9. […] encelioides appeared in these pages. Does the genus name sound familiar? Perhaps it’s because frostweed is also in that […]

  10. […] there for my annual documenting of frostweed’s ice trick. The top picture shows frost on some frostweed flowers that had lingered into mid-December, thanks to unusually mild temperatures. The portrait below […]

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