White crownbeard is a tall perennial with winged stalks. The wings are extension of leaf tissue. The flowerheads are small, clustered terminally, 1–1½ inches across with few (1–5) ray florets, and white. Blooms August–October. The leaves are alternate, oval to lance-shaped, to 7 inches long, with short fine hairs above and hairier below, also with widely spaced, small teeth.
Similar species: There are 3 other species of Verbesina in our state, but they all have yellow, not white flowers. One of these, yellow ironweed (V. alternifolia), is also famous as a "frost flower" plant.