Erigeron philadelphicus (Philadelphia Fleabane)
|Also known as:||Common Fleabane|
|Life cycle:||annual, biennial, short-lived perennial|
|Habitat:||part shade, sun; moist soil, open woods, open fields, along shores|
|Bloom season:||May - June|
|Plant height:||6 to 36 inches|
|Wetland Indicator Status:||GP: FAC MW: FACW NCNE: FAC|
|MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):|
|National distribution (click map to enlarge):|
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Flattish to open clusters of 3 to 35 small daisy-like flowers at the top of the plant. Flowers are ½ to ¾ inch across, with 100 or more pink to white thread-like ray flowers (petals) and a yellow center disk. The flowers close at night so early in the day only the pinkish buds may be seen.
Leaves and stem:
Leaves are somewhat variable. Around the base of the plant is a rosette of nearly spoon shaped leaves with rounded tips. Basal leaves have coarse rounded teeth at the tip end and are up to 6 inches long, alternately attached but crowded around the stem.
As the leaves ascend the stem they become more widely spaced and the shape becomes more elliptical with a pointed tip and more pointed teeth. The base of these leaves clasps the stem. The stem leaves average about 4 inches long and about 1 inch wide. Leaves at the top of the plant near the flowers are much smaller, more heart shaped and toothless. All leaves are hairy. The main stem is also covered in hairs, becoming more sparsely hairy at the top of the plant.
Philadelphia Fleabane is similar to Annual Fleabane (Erigeron annus) and Prairie Fleabane (Erigeron strigosus). Philadelphia Fleabane blooms earlier in the season, has pinker flowers, and has clasping leaves which the other 2 species do not. Also of note is the common name “Daisy Fleabane” is often used for all 3 species, so don't let that confuse you.
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Photos by K. Chayka taken in Ramsey County. Other photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk.
Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?