It’s an election year so we thought it appropriate to ask the community to help us decide which native plant should serve as San Antonio’s Unofficial Pollinator Plant for 2020.

The nominees are…Gregg’s mistflower or Frostweed. Which will it be?

Last year citizen gardeners embraced our campaign to raise awareness of Cowpen Daisy, Verbesina encelioides, an unsung hero of the pollinator garden. We now see the gregarious yellow bloomer along the San Antonio River and in private landscapes. The goal of this campaign is to raise awareness of native plants that serve multi-purposes in the landscape–beauty, shelter, foraging for wildlife, and host and nectar sources for butterflies, bees and birds.

Here’s some quick facts about each plant.

Gregg’s Purple mistflower, Conoclinium greggi

Member of the sunflower family, called Blue boneset, Wild ageratum

Queen on Gregg’s Mistflower. Photo by Candy Roach

Gregg’s Mistflower

  • Gregg’s mistflower grows one-three feet tall and blooms from March through November.
  • Sometimes known as “butterfly crack,” because it’s so irresistible to butterflies.
  • Perennial, is native to New Mexico, Arizona and Texas.
  • Spindly puffs of light lavender to purple flowers with palmate leaves.
  • Can be gregarious. Spreads through seeds and rhizomes.

Frostweed, Verbesina virginica

Member of the sunflower family, called Ice plant, Iceweed, White crown beard

Gulf Fritillary on Frostweed, Llano River. Photo by Monika Maeckle

  • Erect perennial, easy-to-grow, can reach 10 feet.
  • Incredible nectar source for late season monarchs and other butterflies.
  • White flowers bloom in late summer-early fall in shade of trees.
  • Interesting stems with flanges that extend their length.
  • Spreads through seeds and rhizomes. Can be gregarious.
  • COOL UNUSUAL TRAIT: Upon first freeze, the sap inside the plant stem ruptures and creates interesting “ice sculptures,” thus the name “ice plant” and Frostweed.


Both plants bloom late in the season. Both are native. One is purple, the other white. Both are winners–but we can’t decide.

Help us bring another ignored native to the gardening stage and  cast your vote now.


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