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Philadelphia Fleabane (Erigeron philadelphicus L.)

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Philadelphia Fleabane


Philadelphia fleabane is one of the most common and widely distributed species of Erigeron in North America, where it is native. It has daisy-like flowers with many narrow rays (white, often tinged pink or violet) and a yellow center.

Range - Expand

Native or Not Present

This tentative map is based on our own research. It may have limited data on Canada and/or Mexico, and there is some subjectivity in our assignment of plants as introduced vs. expanded. Read more in this blog post.

Life Cycle

This species is usually a biennial or short-lived perennial.

The plant initially forms a basal rosette of leaves that stays close to the ground, often with the leaves pressed firmly against the ground, but sometimes slightly upright in a clump (under richer conditions, where the leaves grow bigger). In spring, the plant bolts, growing a stem with alternate leaves which then flowers and sets seed.

Sometimes the plant then dies, but other times the basal rosette persists.

This species usually depends on some sort of disturbance, either natural or human induced, as in the absence of disturbance, the wet areas where it grows best will usually grow up with taller vegetation that will out-compete it. It benefits from sporadic mowing, and often seeds into wetter parts of lawns, where it sometimes persists as a basal rosette, but it usually cannot reproduce in a regularly-mowed lawn because it has insufficient time to flower and set seed.

Once established with a rosette of leaves, the plant is more tolerant of competition from other plants than at germination, where its small seeds make it dependent on more exposed conditions.

There are numerous (well over 175) Erigeron species native to North America, but most are rare with limited distributions. The most common overlapping species are E. annuus, which grows taller and is less likely to persist as a perennial, E. pulchellus, a slightly longer-lived perennial, and E. strigosus, another biennial or short-lived perennial that prefers slightly drier conditions.

Abundant and closely-related to the fleabanes, and formerly classified in this genus, is Conyza canadensis, an annual with narrower leaves and much smaller flowerheads.

All of these species are widely-distributed and overlap with large portions of this species' range.

Erigeron philadelphicus (Philadelphia Fleabane) | Illinois Wildflowers (About This Site)

Erigeron philadelphicus (Philadelphia Fleabane) | USDA PLANTS Database (About This Site)

Erigeron philadelphicus | Go Botany (About This Site)

Erigeron philadelphicus (Common Fleabane) | Missouri Botanical Garden Plant Finder (About This Site)

Erigeron philadelphicus (Philadelphia fleabane) | CABI Invasive Species Compendium (About This Site)

Erigeron philadelphicus | Biota of North America Project (BONAP) (About This Site)

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Photo © , CC BY-SA 4.0.