Philadelphia Fleabane or Common Fleabane

Philadelphia fleabane
Erigeron philadelphicus


This aster-like flower is a composite: the flower you observe is really a “composite” of many smaller flowers.  The genus, Erigeron, includes scores of species, but I’ll take a chance and say that the one pictured here is Philadelphia fleabane, because of the way the leaves are wrapped around the hairy stems (clasping), the abundant number of tiny ray florets that make up the flower head (they look like white petals), and the early bloom time (around May 1st in Blacksburg).

I know it is considered by many to be a “native weed”, but just look how lovely it is on a sunny day!  I love the way it unfurls from a tight pink fist into a spray of white and yellow sunshine!  Compare this fleabane to a shorter, stouter one, Robin’s Plantain or a later-blooming one, Daisy Fleabane

According to Minnesota Wildflowers

“The 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.

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.”


4 Comments Add yours

  1. I love this plant and let it grow freely in my garden. It is just beautiful in amongst the pink cosmos, blue larkspur, and yellow tickseed.

  2. H Benet says:

    Dozens of these just popped up in my yard–for the first time! I had no idea what they were, but figured it out with the help of this website. Thanks for the “search by color” function, and thanks for sharing what is obviously a labor of love.

    1. gloria says:

      Yes, they are now everywhere in my yard too. Considering this is mostly considered a weed, it is really quite a pretty little flower. I love having names for things, so I’m glad you could use my blog to find the name of an unknown plant. That’s perfect! Thanks for your comment and kind words. I really enjoy the process involved in each of these posts, and an added bonus is getting some feedback from readers now and then too 🙂

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