Verbesina encelioides, B. & H. (Ximenesia encelioides, Cav.)
Native. Annual. Propagates by seeds. Time of bloom: June to August. Seed-time: July to September. Range: Montana southward to Arizona and Texas, to Florida. Habitat: Fields, meadows, and waste places.
A very common weed in its range, which is rapidly extending, the plant having appeared locally as far east as Maine. It intrudes in nearly all crops, appropriating an injurious amount of the soil fertility.
Stem one to two feet tall, much branched and densely hairy. Leaves alternate, ovate, abruptly narrowed or heart-shaped at base, irregularly but sharply toothed, the upper surface green, but beneath pale with a covering of ashy-gray hairs; petioles usually winged and often having a spreading, auricular appendage at base. Heads numerous, one to two inches broad, with twelve to fifteen pistillate and fertile bright golden rays, three-toothed at tips; disk florets perfect and fertile, brownish yellow; involucre about one-half inch high with lance-shaped, spreading, hairy bracts. Achenes of the disk florets narrowly obovate, flattened, hairy, broadly winged, with a pappus of two needle-like awns; those of the rays thickened, rough-wrinkled and usually without awns or wings. (Fig. 327.)
Fig. 327. -Golden Crownbeard (Verbesina encelioides). X 1/4.
Prevent seed production. In grain fields the weed seedlings may be harrowed out in spring when the crop is but a few inches above the ground. Plants which survive this treatment may profitably be hand-pulled, the increased returns paying for the labor. Grasslands should be harvested before the first flowers mature, and all waste places receive attention.