Plants 10-50(-120+) cm (annuals, internodes not winged). Leaves all or mostly alternate (proximal usually opposite); blades deltate-ovate or rhombic to lanceolate, 3-8(-12+) × 2-4(-6+) cm, bases broadly cuneate to ± truncate, margins coarsely toothed to subentire, apices acute to attenuate, faces strigoso-scabrellous to sericeous. Heads usually borne singly, sometimes 2-3+ in loose, cymiform or corymbiform arrays. Involucres ± hemispheric to saucerlike, 10-20+ mm diam. Phyllaries 12-18+ in 1-2 series, ± erect to spreading, lance-ovate or lance-linear to linear, 6-8+ mm. Ray florets (8-)12-15+; laminae 8-10(-20+) mm. Disc florets 80-150+; corollas yellow. Cypselae dark brown to blackish, narrowly obovate, 3.5-5+ mm, faces ± strigillose; pappi 0.5-1(-2) mm (0 on ray cypselae). 2n = 34. Flowering Aug-Oct. Swales, disturbed sites; 10-2500 m; Ala., Ariz., Ark., Calif., Colo., Fla., Ga., Ill., Iowa, Kans., La., Mo., Mont., Nebr., Nev., N.Mex., N.Y., N.C., Okla., Pa., R.I., S.C., S.Dak., Tenn., Tex., Utah, Wyo.; Mexico; West Indies; South America; introduced in Asia, Pacific Islands (Hawaii), Australia. Native distribution of Verbesina encelioides in the flora area is uncertain. Plants of Verbesina encelioides from ca. 100°W (e.g., c Texas) and eastward usually have auriculate petiole bases and have been called var. encelioides; plants from the west usually lack auricles and have been called var. exauriculata.
Erect annual 2-10 dm, the stem and lower lf-surfaces strigose-canescent, the upper lf-surfaces sometimes greener but still strigose; lvs alternate (except the lower), ovate or deltoid, sometimes rather narrowly so, rather coarsely toothed, especially near the base, 4-13 נ2-10 cm; petiole well developed, commonly auriculate-dilated at base; heads long-pedunculate in an open infl, the disk 13-20 mm wide infl; invol bracts loose or a little spreading, scarcely imbricate, canescently strigose or hirsute; rays 10-15, pistillate, yellow, evidently trilobed, 1-1.5 cm; achenes winged, a little spreading but not reflexed, the fruiting head hemispheric; 2n=34. Open, often waste places; native of Mex. and sw. U.S., casually intr. with us, especially westward. May-Oct. (Ximenesia e.; X. exauriculata) Ours is var. encelioides.
Gleason, Henry A. & Cronquist, Arthur J. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. lxxv + 910 pp.
FNA 2006, Wiggins 1964, Kearney and Peebles 1969, Allred and Ivey 2012, Heil et al. 2013
Duration: Annual Nativity: Native Lifeform: Forb/Herb General: Annual herbs, 20-100 cm tall, from a taproot; stems erect, strigose to villous-puberulent, unbranched when small and branched throughout when well developed. Leaves: Usually alternate along the stems, occasionally opposite near base of plants; most leaves on petioles but upper leaves can be sessile and bractlike; blades narrowly to broadly triangular or lanceolate, the margins coarsely toothed, lobed, or subentire, the surfaces strigose, lower surface hairier than the upper. Flowers: Flower heads showy, yellow, radiate, at branch tips on peduncles up to 10 cm long, sometimes numerous in terminal panicles; involucres hemisperic to nearly flat, 1-2 cm diameter, the bracts (phyllaries) 12-18 in 2-3 series, the outer phyllaries a bit longer than the inner; ray florets 10-15 per flower head, the laminae (ray petals) 1-2 cm long, yellow, 3-toothed at the tip; disc florets 40-150 or more per flower head, yellow. Fruits: Achenes 5-7 mm long, thinly hairy; topped with a pappus of 2 bristle-like awns, 1-2 mm long. Ecology: Found in sandy to silty or rocky soils, often along roadsides, drainage bottoms, and other weedy habitats, from 3,000-8,500 ft (914-2591 m); flowers April-September. Distribution: Native to most states in the US, extending through MEX and in S. America; introduced to Asia, Pacific Islands and Australia Notes: Distinguished by being an erect, often tall, annual, showy sunflower-like plant with large flower heads that have yellow rays and yellow centers; look also for the narrow phyllaries at the bottom of the flower head, with the outer row of phyllaries usually a bit longer than the inner row. The leaves are distinctive, being gray-green, hairy especially on the lower surface, and triangular or narrower with a tapered base and usually teeth around the edge. There are two subspecies: subsp. exauriculata is most common in the American West, and has petioles that are not auriculate-dilated at the base. Ssp. encelioides is native to the Gulf Coast and has more prominently auriculate petioles and mostly longer involucral bracts. There are several other species of Verbesina in the southwest but they are perennial. Host plant for Bordered patch butterfly. Ethnobotany: Hopi make the plant into tea and use it as a fever wash and to treat spider bites. Navajo make lotion for similar uses. Navajo also use liquid of strained leaves for stomach trouble. Etymology: Verbesina means resembling Verbena, the vervain genus (though this plant doesn't actually resemble a Verbena); encelioides means resembling Encelia, the genus of brittlebush, which has large showy yellow sunflower-like flowers and gray-green hairy leaves. Synonyms: Verbesina scabra, Ximenesia encelioides Editor: SBuckley 2010, FSCoburn 2015, AHazelton 2017