Erigeron annuus (Annual Fleabane)

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

Pick an image for a larger view. See the glossary for icon descriptions.

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: Fruit type: seed with plume

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


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. And pollinators were happy to have it there, too. Of the other Erigeron species, Philadelphia fleabane, (Erigeron philadelphicus) stem leaves are toothed and clasping, flowers bloom earlier, and is more a woodland species. Prairie Fleabane (Erigeron strigosus) has narrower, toothless leaves, is less hairy or hairless overall, and tends to be a smaller plant. Smooth Fleabane (Erigeron glabellus) and Robin's Plantain (Erigeron pulchellus) both are overall hairier, have few-flowered clusters of larger flowers (over ¾ inch diameter) with rays that are violet to pinkish or white, and perennial where Annual Fleabane is an annual.

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More photos

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


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

Posted by: Carrie Anne - 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.

Posted by: Patrick - Lake Elmo - Washington County
on: 2016-06-15 12:57:00

This what I call a "good weed". It quickly occupies bare ground, but gives way when other species come in. I still have some of it in my 20 year old restoration, but much less than in the beginning. I don't even pull it anymore. I did not know it was native.

Posted by: Calvin C U - Winona
on: 2017-06-15 22:26:34

3-4 feet tall in my garden patch recently acquired, but neglected for 5 years previous. Am trying to remove invasives (buckthorn,garlic mustard, creepy Charlie, and another yet-to-be-identified tall perennial. Will preserve this Erigeron.

Posted by: Clarice - Afton
on: 2021-07-03 09:34:21

Although quite a pretty flower, the fleabane have overwhelmingly taken over a wildflower patch on our property. I would like to control its spread. Any ideas on controlling this beauty?

Posted by: K. Chayka
on: 2021-07-03 17:37:06

Clarice, if you have too much of it, just pull out what you don't want. It uproots easily. Since it's an annual there will always be a seed bank to contend with. Whoever said native plant gardens were low maintenance never had one. :-)

Posted by: Kristen - St Paul
on: 2023-06-07 13:05:57

So glad this is Native! Found in disturbed soil as we get rid of grass for prairie wildflowers. Learning about all sorts of invasives that have been coming in. Keeping this one! :)

Posted by: Andy - Minneapolis
on: 2023-07-04 18:20:55

It always pops in my yard wherever I churn up the soil to plant new stuff. A website claims that fleabane has been used for centuries--either dried, scattered, or burnt--to deter fleas. Bane of a flea's existence.

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