Chrysogonum virginianum (green and gold) with Prenanthes sp.

12 Fascinating Facts About Chrysogonum

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The genus Chrysogonum contains a single species, Chrysogonum virginianum, which is a lovely low-growing perennial plant native to eastern North America. This hardy little plant has cheerful yellow daisy-like flowers and makes an excellent garden groundcover.

Chrysogonum goes by several common names including green and gold, golden knee, and goldenstar. But no matter what you call it, this plant has some fascinating features.

Here are 12 fascinating facts you may not know about Chrysogonum:

1. Its Name Means “Golden Joint”

The genus name Chrysogonum comes from the Greek words chrysos meaning “gold” and gonu meaning “joint.” This refers to the location of the flowers stems joining the leaves.

The species name virginianum indicates the plant’s origins in Virginia.

2. It Has a Unique Flower Structure

Chrysogonum has composite flowers typical of the Asteraceae plant family. But what’s unusual is that the outer ray florets are female while the inner disc florets are male.

So the ray florets produce seeds while the disc florets produce pollen.

3. The Flowers Look Like Stars

The bright yellow flowers have 5 slightly notched petals that create a star shape. This gives rise to common names like goldenstar and gold star.

The brown centers provide nice contrast against the golden petals.

Chrysogonum virginianum (green and gold)
Chrysogonum virginianum (green and gold) by tgpotterfield is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 .

4. It Blooms Most of the Year

Chrysogonum starts blooming in spring and will continue flowering through summer and fall as long as temperatures are mild.

It takes a break during hot weather, but starts back up again when things cool down. So you can enjoy months of golden blossoms.

5. The Foliage Stays Evergreen in Warmer Areas

Where winters are mild, the deep green leaves remain evergreen through winter. But in colder zones, most of the foliage dies back and returns again each spring.

6. It’s Extremely Low Maintenance

Once established, Chrysogonum is very easy care. It thrives on neglect, doing well in poor soil and tolerating drought. The only maintenance needed is clipping off spent flower stems.

7. An Easy to Grow Groundcover

This plant spreads readily by rhizomes to form a lush carpet of foliage and flowers. It makes a beautiful groundcover and can also be used as an edging plant.

Table for growing conditions:

Growing ConditionDetails
SunPart sun to full shade
SoilAverage, well-drained
WaterMedium, tolerates drought
HardinessZones 5-9

8. It Attracts Pollinators

The nectar-rich blossoms attract butterflies, bees, and other beneficial insects. Songbirds also eat the seeds.

So Chrysogonum is a great addition to wildlife gardens.

9. Used as an Ornamental Plant

With its stellar flowers and spreading habit, Chrysogonum makes a fantastic ornamental plant. It’s especially valued in shade gardens where bright color is hard to come by.

There is also a popular variety called ‘Allen Bush’ which is more compact and floriferous.

10. Has Medicinal Uses

Native Americans used Chrysogonum to treat fevers and other ailments. The leaves and roots were boiled to make a therapeutic tea.

Modern herbalists also use it for its antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties.

11. Features in Native American Folklore

According to legend, an Indian named Joe Pye used Chrysogonum to cure typhoid fever, leading to common names like “Joe Pye weed.” But this actually refers to the unrelated plant, Eutrochium purpureum.

12. Easy to Propagate

You can propagate Chrysogonum by dividing the roots or taking cuttings of the stems. It also self-seeds readily.

So sharing this plant with gardening friends is simple.


From its unique flowers to great wildlife value and medicinal properties, Chrysogonum has so much to offer the garden. This tough yet beautiful perennial thrives with minimal care and provides months of bright golden blossoms.

If you have a shady spot in your yard, be sure to consider this fascinating native wildflower. A patch of Chrysogonum truly is golden!

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