Erigeron strigosus (Prairie Fleabane)

Plant Info
Also known as: Daisy Fleabane, Rough Fleabane
Family:Asteraceae (Aster)
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):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: panicle

[photo of flowers] 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.

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

[photo of stem leaves] 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.

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

[photo of seed] 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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More photos

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?

Posted by: Bob - Dodge County, rural Hayfield
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?

Posted by: Paul - SAINT PAUL
on: 2014-07-05 10:55:51

In bloom 4 July 2014 at Ottawa Bluffs, LeSueur County.

Posted by: Karen - Northern Anoka 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!

Posted by: B.Pittman - Wells township, Rice Cty
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.

Posted by: Nan - Dodge County
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.

Posted by: Carissa Mattice - Austin
on: 2019-07-08 14:09:19

Came up in my flower beds.

Posted by: Susan Warner - Brooklyn Center
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.

Posted by: Bev Larson - Hennepin County - Edina
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.

Posted by: Patrick - Cottage Grove
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.

Posted by: Muffet Trout - St. Paul
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!

Posted by: K. Chayka
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.

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