Asteraceae (Composite Sunflower) Family
Butterweed is also known as Yellowtop Butterweed, Grassleaf Groundsel and Cressleaf Groundsel.
The plant is an upright, fleshy annual that may reach heights of 3 feet or more. The stems are hollow. The preferred habitat of Butterweed is marshes, swamps, damp roadside embankments and meadows. Distribution is throughout the Escambia region.
The leaves are alternate on the stem, irregularly cut and toothed. The upper leaves slightly clasp the stem and are much reduced in size. The leaf texture is bristly and rough to the touch.
The flowers are heads in large clusters at the tip of a stem. Each head is nearly an inch in diameter, with a single marginal row of yellow rays surrounding a yellow disc. The plant gets an early start in the blooming business, blanketing the landscape in gold as though the rainbow ends in the southeastern US. Flowers occur in early spring.
Clair Brown of Louisiana said it so well in Wildflowers of Louisiana: The color of a few scattered plants is conspicuous, but does not compare to the sheet of gold when one sees acres of them in bloom. The good people along the coastal region know well the splendor of Butterweed as the entire landscape is a mass of golden flowers.