Erigeron annuus (Annual Fleabane)
|Also known as:||Eastern Daisy Fleabane|
|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):|
|National distribution (click map to enlarge):|
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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.
Leaves and stems:
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.
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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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?