Wild Sunflower

Verbesina encelioides

Common name:

Wild Sunflower

Scientific name:

Verbesina enceliodes

Alternative common names:

Golden crown beard (English), Wildesonneblom (Afrikaans)

Annual erect herb 0.5-1.0 m high, with flowers resembling small sunflowers. Flowers heads one to several, disc florets yellowish orange, they bloom between summers to autumn. Leaves silvery green in colour with small white hairs beneath, mostly alternate but opposite towards the base, oval to lance-shaped, 30-80mm long, margins coarsely toothed. Seeds are brown to blackish in colour, flat, winged along the margins, 3.5-5mm long.

Additional Info

  • Where does this species come from?

    United States and Mexico.

    What is its invasive status in South Africa?

    Not listed.

    Where in South Africa is it a problem?

    Northern Cape, North West, Mpumalanga (Kruger National Park), Limpopo Province and Western Cape (Bothasig near Cape Town).

    How does it spread?

    Spreads by seeds which are dispersed by wind, or by birds.

    Why is it a problem?

    Poisonous and mildly toxic to small mammals, invades roadside, sandy watercourses and open fields.

    What does it look like?

    Leaves:Leaves silvery green in colour with fine hairs on the upper surface and densely white-hairy beneath, alternate but opposite towards the base. Oval to lance-shaped, 30-80mm long, margins coarsely toothed (serrated), tips pointed, petioles usually winged at the base. Flowers: Disc florets yellowish orange in colour, flowers between summer to autumn (December to May). Fruit/seeds: Small seeds brown to blackish in color, flat, winged along the margins, 3.5- 5 mm long.

    Does the plant have any uses?

    Cultivated as an ornamental.