First Photos of 2023-Verbesina virginica (Frostweed/White Crownbeard)

Verbesina virginica (White Crownbeard/Frostweed) on 1-30-23, #928-1.

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you well. I was in the process of writing descriptions for the Verbesina virginica (White Crownbeard/Frostweed, etc.) page Sunday evening and a thought came into my mind… I have been taking photos of this species since 2018 but had not ventured out in the cold to see if I could find any of its frost flowers. My higher self butted in to the thought and said, “You could try it tomorrow since it will be very cold.” Hmmm… The return thought was it is already January 30 and I should have tried before. My higher self returned with, “There’s that “should have” again.” ”

The White Crownbeard has been one of my favorite wildflowers with its odd winged stems and big clusters of flowers. I first published the page in 2018 and continued adding new photos and finally wrote descriptions.

I always thought the frost flowers were formed during the first hard freeze and that was it. BUT, as I was reading the page for the species on the Arkansas Native Plant Society, I found out it wasn’t a one-time thing.

It was 16° when I got up so I knew I would have to give the chickens fresh water. They don’t particularly like hard water, you know. I also needed to give the birds more seed because they hit the feeders pretty hard when it is cold. So, I got ready to go outside and somehow the camera snuck into my coat pocket. I took a bucket of chicken feed and a bucket for water to the hydrant then looked off in the distance to where the White Crownbeard/Frostweed were. All the way down to the south boundary fence of the farm… All the way and it was 16°.

I did have on an insulated flannel shirt, my heaviest coat, and the warmest gloves. I wasn’t cold yet so I started walking. On the way, the sock on my right foot started sliding down in the rubber boot (at least my boots are Dry Shods).

Once I was at the spot where the Verbesina virginica always grew, all I could see was dead stems. Not that I was expecting anything else since it is January 30.

Verbesina virginica (White Crownbeard/Frostweed) on 1-30-23, #928-2.

Lo and behold I spotted frost weed at the base of two dead stems several feet apart.

Verbesina virginica (White Crownbeard/Frostweed) on 1-30-23, #928-3.

I have seen photos online that looked like frozen waterfalls coming from the stems. Likely, I would have seen that “if” I had looked earlier when we had a first freeze.

Verbesina virginica (White Crownbeard/Frostweed) on 1-30-23, #928-4.

It looks like a blob of ice, but it is actually more like a ribbon. Very thin and brittle…

Verbesina virginica (White Crownbeard/Frostweed) on 1-30-23, #928-5.

I was glad I went out in the cold and took the camera. If anything, it is an inspiration to go out next winter when we have a first freeze.

By the time I got back, my hands were freezing but the coat I had on was making me almost sweat. I got the chickens fed and gave them fresh water and the birds have more seed.

I went to get the mail, and apparently, the mail carrier got a little to close. I noticed before I went outside (looking through the window) the mailbox was leaning a little. There are two mailboxes, one for me and one for across the street. The carrier got them both! How could that happen after so many years? At least the posts are still intact and the mailboxes are OK.

Until next time, be safe and stay positive. Keep warm and always be thankful!