Verbesina helianthoides, commonly known as Yellow Wingstem, is a perennial forb with a fibrous root system. It has wings (leafy tissue) that run down the length of the stem. Its common name is due to the yellow flowers. Other common names include Yellow Crownbeard and Gravelweed. Helianthoides, is Latin meaning “like a sunflower”. A scientific synonym is Actinomeris helianthoides.
Bobwhite quail, songbirds and small mammal species relish the seeds. Deer eat the plant in summer, and several species of caterpillars feed on the foliage as well. Long-tongued bees including bumblebees, honeybees and others visit the flowers for pollen and nectar.
Easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Thrives in consistently moist, organically rich soils, but also tolerates some dry conditions. Easy to grow from seed. Not sufficiently ornamental for borders. Best naturalized in native plant gardens, wildflower meadows or cottage gardens.
Habitats include moist prairies, moist meadows near rivers and woodlands, woodland openings, woodland borders, floodplain forests, areas adjacent to woodland paths, thickets, savannas, partially shaded seeps, partially shaded areas along rivers, pastures, abandoned fields, and roadside ditches. This plant usually doesn’t wander far from woodland areas or bodies of water. The deciduous woodlands where this plant occurs often contain such moisture-loving trees as American Sycamore, American Elm, Hackberry, and Silver Maple. Wingstem competes well against other plants in both high quality and disturbed habitats.