Erigeron strigosus (Prairie Fleabane)
|Also known as:||Daisy Fleabane, Rough Fleabane|
|Life cycle:||annual, short-lived perennial|
|Habitat:||part shade, sun; dry prairie, roadsides, along railroads|
|Bloom season:||June - September|
|Plant height:||12 to 30 inches|
|Wetland Indicator Status:||GP: FACU MW: FACU NCNE: FACU|
|MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):|
|National distribution (click map to enlarge):|
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Up to 200 small daisy-like flowers in an open branching cluster at the top of the plant. Flowers are ½ to ¾ inch across with 50 to 100 short, narrow white rays (petals) that may sometimes be pink or bluish tinged, and yellow center disk. Occasionally flowers have very short or nearly no rays. Early heads form at the tip of the branch and nearby lateral buds, later heads emerge from lower leaf axils creating an open array of white blooms.
Behind the flower are 2 to 4 rows of narrow light green bracts that are hairless or sparsely hairy. The flower stalk is ¾ to 1 inch long and also hairless or sparsely hairy.
Leaves and stems:
Leaves are 1 to 6 inches long, ¼ to 1 inch wide, mostly toothless or with a few small teeth, hairless to sparsely hairy, becoming smaller as they ascend the stem.
Leaves near the base are elliptic, spatula-shaped to rounded, tapering to a slender stalk, becoming stalkless and more lance-oblong or linear farther up the stem. Stems are multiple from the base, stiff and hairless to sparsely hairy.
Fruit is a small head of nondescript brown seed, each about 1mm long, with a few relatively short light brown hairs attached.
Prairie Fleabane is one of the more common Erigeron species in Minnesota, distinguished by the (usually) numerous small (¾ inch or less diameter) white daisy-like flowers with up to 100 very narrow rays, hairless to sparsely hairy leaves and stems, spoon or spatula-shaped basal leaves, narrowly lance-elliptic and toothless stem leaves that are stalkless but not clasping. Of the other Erigeron species, Philadelphia fleabane, (Erigeron philadelphicus) stem leaves are toothed and clasping, flowers bloom earlier, and is more a woodland species. Annual Fleabane (Erigeron annuus) has broader, more distinctly toothed leaves, is hairier overall, and tends to be a taller 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 Prairie Fleabane is usually an annual or sometimes a biennial.
There are 2 recognized varieties of E. strigosus in Minnesota: var. septentrionalis is uncommon, characterized by flattened (in cross section) appressed to spreading hairs about 1mm long on the stems and flower bracts; var. strigosus is the more common, with round (in cross section) hairs that are appressed to ascending, up to .5mm long, and more sparse. The other two vars have a limited range in the southeastern US and are usually perennial.
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Photos by K. Chayka taken in Ramsey County. Photos by Peter M. Dziuk taken in Isanti and Ramsey counties.
Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?
on: 2014-06-14 00:35:43
Hello, I see on the distribution map that Prairie Fleabane is listed as "questionable presence" for Dodge County. I believe that I have several specimens growing wild on my property. Is there a way to confirm it for you?
on: 2014-07-05 10:55:51
In bloom 4 July 2014 at Ottawa Bluffs, LeSueur County.
on: 2016-06-28 09:49:19
The large field next to our long driveway is FULL of Prairie Fleabane, and it is quite magnificent! http://britmorschnauzers.com/fleabane.jpg
on: 2016-07-09 16:44:21
Our butterfly garden, mixed seed from wildflower pKt. Will try to establish for naturalizing on our back acreage.
on: 2017-06-20 10:05:44
We've observed this at our bee yard in Milton Township in a pasture area near the Zumbro.
on: 2019-07-08 14:09:19
Came up in my flower beds.
on: 2020-08-31 11:29:16
Noticed this last year in my yard and this summer it has been gorgeous. Have had flowers since late May mixed in with my purple phlox. Bees and butterflies love it. I will definitely keep this one in my yard and see where it spreads next year.
on: 2021-06-03 14:56:12
Found several small clumps of these plants blooming the first week of June along Minnehaha Creek bank in an open expanse that had been planted to native prairie plants (mostly gone now) about 20 years ago.
on: 2021-06-20 12:36:20
Found a good healthy crop in our garden area a few days ago. We been pulling theses plants before they've flowered, not knowing what they were. However this summer we haven't been able to do much work in the garden area due busy schedules and other things. South western Washington county MN.
on: 2021-07-22 21:13:22
Found this as a volunteer in our pollinator garden and am happy to learn it is a native plant. Thank you for the info. The bees love it!
on: 2021-07-23 07:11:14
Muffet, you may have a different fleabane, annual fleabane; it commonly volunteers in gardens especially in the Metro area.