Home of the Practically Perfect Pink Phlox and other native plants for pollinators

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Wildflower Wednesday: Chrysogonum virginianum

Chrysogonum virginianum is a eastern US native known for both it's foliage and flowers.
sends out long, above-ground stolons that touch down and take root
Chrysogonum virginianum is a long blooming, great little native Asteraceae ground-cover with semi-evergreen foliage and golden flowers. You'll find it happiest in woodland gardens that have good drainage and base soil. Naturally occurring plants are found in bright filtered light along forest edges and clearings. Expect it to be vigorous, it is after all a ground cover.
 It's been in my garden for at least a decade and is very much at home between the large stepping stones on the path to the front door and in the adjacent bed. It flowers every spring and doesn't seem to mind a bit of foot traffic every now and then.

Green and Gold blooms early in my Zone 6b/7a garden; a few flowers will open in mid-March, but, April is when it pops. Then all at once the small golden flowers are waving above the green fuzzy leaves as if they're saying come on pollinators here I am.
The early bloom provides nectar for visiting bees and butterflies.
 Chrysogonum virginianum is not just another yellow composite flower. It's a charmer that wends its way through native sedges, huecheras, Spigelia marilandica, ferns and mayapples. It can dance with Phlox pilosa or ramble over a small boulder. The golden star flowers have five slightly-notched, yellow petals and a center of yellow disk flowers. The bright green leaves are ovate, with crenate (rounded teeth) margins. The leaves, stems and stolons are quite hairy or fuzzy.
a tuft of disk flowers surrounded by 5 ray florets that are toothed on the ends
I recommend Green and Gold as an alternative for invasive thugs like Winter creeper (Eonymous fortunai), Creeping Jenny (Lysimachia nummularia) and Vinca minor.  I wish big box stores and independent garden centers sold it instead of non-native thugs. Having mentioned thuggishness, please, remember, this native is a ground cover, so don't expect it to stay put, it will travel.
typical asteraceae's individual flowers

Good reasons to consider planting Green and Gold in your garden.

  • Beautiful groundcover for shady area
  • Long bloom time
  • Does well in a rain garden
  • Will naturalize
  • Lovely planted along the edge of a woodland path
  • Good for planting at the base of native shrubs
  • Easy to grow and maintain
  • Nectar source for early visiting pollinators
planted with Heuchera
The Essentials

Common Name: goldenstar, Green and Gold
Type:  rhizomatous, low-growing perennial; Evergreen or semi-evergreen
Family: Asteraceae
Zone: 5 to 9
USA: AL , DC , FL , GA , KY , LA , MD , MS , NC , NY , OH , PA , SC , TN , VA , WV
Native Habitat: Woodlands, dappled sun
Size: 4-6 inches high
Bloom Time: Late March, April, May and possible rebloom in the fall. If you're gardening in its northern zone you might have summer blooms, but it's too hot in Middle TN to bloom all summer. In a wet, cool autumn there might be repeat blooms.
Bloom: Yellow
Sun: Part shade to full shade. If you want to plant it in the sun make sure it is well watered during dry summers.
Water: Medium with good drainage. Once it's established it should be fairly drought tolerant.
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Ground Cover, Naturalize, Rain Garden
Tolerates: Deer, Shade, Drought
Companion planting: Dwarf crested iris (Iris cristata),  Blue wood sedge (Carex flaccosperma),  Christmas Fern (Polystichum acrostichoides), Hairy Alumroot (Heuchera villosa), Ohio spiderwort (Tradescantia ohiensis and Blue-stem goldenrod (Solidago caesia)or what ever combination of plants that  need a spot of golden star beauty.

Even though it's a spring bloomer Green and Gold is an honorary member of the Clay and Limestone Rough and Tumble Wildflower club!

Take a chance on Golden star, I've never regretted planting it.

Thank you for stopping by and welcome to Clay and Limestone's Wildflower Wednesday celebration. WW is about sharing and celebrating wildflowers from all over this great big, beautiful world. Join us on the fourth Wednesday of each month. Remember, it doesn't matter if they are in bloom or not; and, it doesn't matter if we all share the same plants. It's all about celebrating wildflowers. Please leave a comment when you add your url to Mr Linky.

Gail Eichelberger is a gardener and therapist in Middle Tennessee. She loves wildflowers and native plants and thoroughly enjoys writing about the ones she grows at Clay and Limestone. She reminds all that the words and images are the property of the author and cannot be used without written permission.


  1. I would love a start of this wildflower. I have some area I bet it would love. I saw my first bee yesterday. Such an exciting time of the year.

  2. Hi Gail, I've never heard of this one. I see it is not one that is native to our area. I agree with you, it is much better for a native spreader than the non-native aggressive plants.

  3. Thanks for introducing me to yet another native beauty, Gail. If I can find a source for them, I have the perfect place for them where I'd be happy to have them travel to their heart's content.

  4. Unfortunately your golden star is not one that would grow here in Texas. It's cheery little flower looks so much like our chocolate daisy. I wish that one would spread a little.

  5. Amongst my March flowers, for you, I have hawkweed with butterflies (small brown nameless ones, whose wings flash red when I startle them into flight)

  6. I tried this and it totally failed for me here in Middle TN. Not sure why :(

    It had morning sun and afternoon shade. Maybe it needs the more filtered all day shade of a woodland? Though I've heard from some other gardeners that it even thrives for them in full sun...

    It's a mystery to me! Any thoughts/advice?

    1. I don't know...is your soil to acidic or maybe to wet in winter. Good luck with it.

    2. The soil certainly tends to stay wet in the winter. If green-and-gold does not like that, I guess it wouldn't be happy here. Or maybe I should plant it in more sun where the soil might dry out on sunny winter days? Hm...

  7. Great little flower. I think it would like my stepping stones too.

  8. Great little flower. I think it would like my stepping stones too.

  9. This is a beautiful wildflower and I noticed that it has a long bloom time. Lovely! I took the easy way out this month and did a wordless wildflower post. The Maple flowers are so magical right now as we move from winter to spring. Thanks for hosting this meme.

  10. Now that's a pretty little thing! I saw my first bee yesterday, so I know things are perking up outside!

  11. Your golden star is beautiful. It reminds me of our Englemann's daisy and a few other Texas natives that are blooming right now. I put mine in a vase today. See if you can name them all!

  12. I planted 'Eco Lacquered Spider' nearly 20 years ago and it has spread at least tenfold with little care. It's in filtered sunlight in a place that gets very dry and is occasionally under water. It pairs beautifully with purple flowers like dwarf crested iris, violets and verbena. I really should put in some other places in the garden! I love the idea of planting it between step stones.

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  14. Another reason to plant Green and Gold - they are the colors of our football team Green Bay Packers - Yeah!

  15. Finally joining in...I love this plant, but will have to try again as mine disappeared when it was swallowed by horsetail.

  16. Just moved and divided mine that were underneath a Carolina Allspice that was starting to tower over them. Very easy peasy to do.

  17. Western wildflowers have an intriguing history. Perused about the utilizations and environment of western wildflowers including beargrass wildflowers, bitterroot wildflowers, owl-clover wildflowers, Indian paintbrush, snowberry wildflowers and the yucca blossom.

  18. There are no native plants blooming at this time of year, but many invasive plants are showing signs of life. This is the perfect time of year to pull bush honeysuckle up by the roots, which is what I do with the small ones. Then there's more area for the natives to grow in.

  19. I have to try this myself. Like the fact you still have leaves on the ground also.lol


"Insects are the little things that run the world." Dr. E O Wilson