Erigeron philadelphicus (Philadelphia Fleabane)

Plant Info
Also known as: Common Fleabane
Family:Asteraceae (Aster)
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):Minnesota county distribution map
National distribution (click map to enlarge):National distribution map

Pick an image for a larger view. See the glossary for icon descriptions.

Detailed Information

Flower: Flower shape: 7+petals Cluster type: flat

[photo of flower] 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.

[photo of bracts] 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: Leaf attachment: alternate Leaf type: simple

[photo of basal leaves] 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.

[photo of leaves] 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: Fruit type: seed with plume

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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More photos

Photos by K. Chayka taken in Ramsey County. Photos by Peter M. Dziuk taken at locations across Minnesota.


Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?

Posted by: Gary - Harpers Ferry, IA
on: 2016-06-07 09:13:14

Have a two acre second year prairie grass and flower plot dominated by fleabane. I had an allergic reaction to it or perhaps some other plants in the plot. Never had allergic reactions before. Will fleabane do this to some people?

Posted by: K. Chayka
on: 2016-06-07 09:59:27

Fleabane doesn't have any more allergens than any other plant that we're aware of, but we aren't experts on the subject.

Posted by: Mani S - Minnetonka, Hennepin
on: 2017-06-14 14:51:02

I have these in my backyard!

Posted by: cameron - acton ontario canada
on: 2017-08-02 14:46:10

Erigeron philadelphicus I live in Acton Ontario canada and get this in my garden every year,

Posted by: todd Christopherson - Burnsville
on: 2021-05-24 14:04:45

I have some of these in Burnsville along our shoreline. we have pink and white. Another app I use called "picture this" classified this as a weed due to its "strong growth". It wasn't listed in the seed mix I planted, so I consider it an added bonus.

Posted by: B. McIntyre - Pope County ( Rural )
on: 2023-06-01 08:35:01

This plant has appeared in one of my gardens this year. Granted, we do live in very rural Pope County, and it is a native of Minnesota, so I shouldn't be surprised I suppose. I noticed it in Fall of last year. There was a rosette of leaves that I couldn't identify at the time, but this Spring, it grew like crazy, and is now blooming. I am leaving it in my garden for now. It definitely has its own beauty and the pollinators seem to love it. It is about 2 feet tall as of now, and has pinkish-white flowers that appear in drooping corymbs. Thank you for such a wonderful and informative site!

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