Flower of the Day: Wingstem

Verbesina alternifolia (formerly Actinomeris alternifolia); Asteraceae (aster family)

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Like its close relative tall coneflower (fotd 8/21), wingstem has a central cone of disc flowers surrounded by reflexed ray flowers (petals).  The cone looks quite different, though.

20140818-DSC_0127-2Another difference between the two species is the one that gives this plant its common name.  Look closely at a stem and you’ll see that it’s lined with leaf tissue.  This is a not uncommon occurrence with petioles (the leaf stem), but much less common with a plant’s main stem.

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Wingstem grows very tall and loves riverbanks and moist places, just like tall coneflower, but blooms a bit later.  It can be found through much of the eastern and midwestern US.

Here’s a closeup of the disc flowers:

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