Monday, June 23, 2014

Chapman's Crownbeard - Verbesina chapmanii

Chapman's crownbeard (Verbesina chapmanii) is another interesting Florida plant, endemic to a 6-county area in the central Panhandle.  Its core population is found within the Apalachicola National Forest, where these photographs were recently taken.
Chapman's crownbeard is a perennial forb with rough-as-sandpaper oblong leaves that vary in length from 1-4 inches.  The leaves alternate on the wingless 2-3 foot tall stems. Rounded flower heads form atop these stems in late spring and early summer. Each head is about 3/4 inches across. The bright yellow flowers are quite distinctive; no ray flowers are produced and they appear similar to those produced by Palafoxia spp.- except for the canary yellow color. Like other members of the aster family, the blooms attract pollinators.
Chapman's crownbeard occurs in open wet prairies, pine flatwoods, and bogs and forms an interesting part of the extremely diverse wet-prairie habitats found throughout the Apalachicola National Forest and parts adjacent to it.  Though several members of this genus have become common cultivated wildflowers in Florida, Chapman's crownbeard has never been offered for home gardens to my knowledge. I suspect it is somewhat adaptable, but have never grown it myself to verify that.  Watch for it along roadsides in moist open areas of the Forest and admire it for its simple beauty.

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