Erigeron annuus (Annual Fleabane)

Plant Info
Also known as: Eastern Daisy Fleabane
Genus:Erigeron
Family:Asteraceae (Aster)
Life cycle:annual
Origin:native
Habitat:sun; disturbed soil, waste areas, roadsides, fields
Bloom season:June - October
Plant height:2 to 5 feet
MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):Minnesota county distribution map
National distribution (click map to enlarge):National distribution map

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Detailed Information

Flower: Flower shape: 7+petals Cluster type: panicle

[photo of flowers] Up to 50 small daisy-like flowers in an open branching cluster at the top of the plant. Flowers are about ¾ inch across, with 80 to 125 narrow white rays (petals) and a yellow center disk. Early heads form at the tip of the branch and nearby lateral buds, but as the season progresses, lower lateral buds also expand into heads creating a panicled cloud of the small white flowers.

[photo of bracts] Behind the flower are 2 to 4 rows of narrow bracts, covered in long flattened to slightly spreading hairs. The flower stalk is ¾ to 1 inch long and also covered in very short hairs.

Leaves and stems: Leaf attachment: alternate Leaf attachment: basal Leaf type: simple

[photo of leaves] Leaves are 2 to 6 inches long, 1 to 3 inches wide, covered with sparse stiff hairs. Basal leaves are elliptic to spatula shaped, coarsely toothed with rounded tips and winged stalks, becoming stalkless, more lance-shaped and less toothed or toothless near the flower clusters. Single or multiple stems from the base are ridged and lined with sparse bristly hairs.

Fruit:

[photo of seed] Fruit is a small nondescript seed head, the fine seed is less than 1 millimeter long, brown and nearly plumeless.

Notes:

Considered a weed by many, Annual Fleabane was one of the more weedy native species I enjoyed having invade my more formal garden in my early transitional gardening years. Some hand weeding every year was required but it never threatened to take over the garden and I wouldn't trade away the bright airy arrays of tiny white flowers in the passing summer's sun. Similar species are Prairie Fleabane (Erigeron strigosis), which is overall a smaller plant with (usually) narrower, toothless leaves, and Philadelphia Fleabane (Erigeron philadelphicus), which blooms earlier in the spring and has clasping leaves.

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More photos

Photos by K. Chayka taken in Ramsey County. Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken in Anoka and Ramsey counties.

Comments

Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?

Posted by: Carrie Anne in Minneapolis, MN
on: 2011-08-10 15:06:28

I found this growing in my yard, identified it as native, and it's been coming back for the past three years now. This yard was previously a mowed lawn, but is now slowly becoming a modern version of a prairie. =) It's very pretty in front of my purple giant hyssop before it blooms.

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