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 150 or more pink to white thread-like ray flowers (petals) and a yellow center disk.
Behind the flower are 2 to 3 rows of narrow light green bracts that are hairless or sparsely hairy, sometimes minutely glandular. The flower stalk is ¾ to 1 inch long and also hairless or sparsely hairy. 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, and may wither away by flowering time.
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. Stems are erect, multiple from the base, covered in spreading hairs, more sparsely hairy at the top of the plant.
Fruit is a dry seed .6 to 1.1 mm long with 10 to 20 long, light brown hairs attached.
Philadelphia Fleabane is one of the most common Erigeron species in North America, found across Minnesota, and is most easily distinguished from the rest by the clasping stem leaves. It blooms earlier in the season than either Annual Fleabane (Erigeron annuus) or Prairie Fleabane (Erigeron strigosus). It has smaller, more numerous flowers than either Smooth Fleabane (Erigeron glabellus) or Robin's Plantain (Erigeron pulchellus) both of which have larger flowers (over ¾ inch diameter) with broader rays that are violet to pinkish or white. There are three recognized varieties of E. philadelphicus: var. philadelphicus, with hairy stem leaves, is the most common and found in Minnesota; the other two vars. have leaves hairless or becoming so and have limited ranges in Canada and parts of New York and Vermont.
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Photos by K. Chayka taken in Ramsey County. Photos by Peter M. Dziuk taken at locations across Minnesota.
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