Philadelphia Fleabane

Media
A cluster of white flowers with pink-tinged tips around a yellow daisylike center.
Scientific Name
Erigeron philadelphicus
Family
Asteraceae (daisies)
Description

A perennial plant, branched toward the top, commonly soft, with hairy stems and leaves. Flowerheads are small “daisies” with up to 400 ray florets, white, turning light pinkish lavender. No other Erigeron has so many ray florets. Blooms April–June. Lower leaves are spade-shaped with mostly rounded tips, short stems, sometimes lobed, the edges toothed or scalloped; sometimes withered by flowering time. Upper leaves stemless, partially clasping, usually with a pointed tip and oblong.

Similar species: There are 5 species of Erigeron in Missouri, nearly all of them found scattered statewide. Robin’s plantain (E. pulchellus) has larger flowers, 50-80 ray florets, and leafy runners at the base of the plant, which can form colonies. Two plants called daisy fleabane (E. annuus and E. strigosus) bloom May-September or November. Slenderleaf fleabane (E. tenuis) is scattered in the southern part of the state and blooms April-June.

Size
Height: to 3 feet.
Where To Find
image of Philadelphia Fleabane distribution map
Scattered to common throughout the state; less common or absent from western parts of the Ozarks.
Occurs on banks of streams and rivers, edges of ponds and lakes, bottomland forests, moist upland forests and prairies, on bluffs and in fields, valleys, waste places, gardens, cemeteries, roadsides, railroads, and in open disturbed areas.
This species is widespread in North America, and several tribes used it medicinally for a variety of ailments, including as a cold remedy, analgesic, antidiarrheal agent, and poultice for sores; also to reduce excessive bleeding following childbirth.
The leaves of fleabanes are food for certain types of butterflies and moths, and the flowers provide nectar for an even greater variety of insects.
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About Wildflowers, Grasses and Other Nonwoody Plants in Missouri
A very simple way of thinking about the green world is to divide the vascular plants into two groups: woody and nonwoody (or herbaceous). But this is an artificial division; many plant families include some species that are woody and some that are not. The diversity of nonwoody vascular plants is staggering! Think of all the ferns, grasses, sedges, lilies, peas, sunflowers, nightshades, milkweeds, mustards, mints, and mallows — weeds and wildflowers — and many more!