Friday, June 05, 2009

Fleabane

Fleabane is common around the forest right now. This one, I believe, is common fleabane or Erigeron philadelphicus. Philadelphicus tends toward the pink or lavendar, as this one is, and it doesn't have much in the way of leaves.

There’s not much variation in how common fleabane, daisy fleabane (Erigeron strigosus) and annual fleabane (Erigeron annus) all look. The colors vary from white to pale lavender. They don’t keep fleas away.

Annual fleabane is often called daisy fleabane instead of annual fleabane even in some books. The difference between all of them lies in the tiny hairs on the stem and to some extent in the number of leaves, but even that isn’t noticeable unless the plant you are looking at is an especially healthy one. So just fleabane is good enough as far as I’m concerned.

Fleabanes, even the one called daisy fleabane, are really asters.

So let’s recap: they don’t keep fleas away and the daisy fleabane isn’t a daisy. So much for descriptive names. They are all pretty, however, or at least I think so. Several plants will often grow close together, so it’s not unusual to find a small patch filled with 50 flowers within a few feet of each other, one of nature’s living bouquets.

I’ve never been one to understand why people prefer grass to, well, just about anything else, so I will freely admit that I could never think of fleabane as a weed, the way many seem to. If it flowers and turns the edge of the woods or the pond pink with such tiny and delicate little blooms, how could it be a weed? Not in my book, anyway.

7 comments:

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Good fleabane post—and I agree with you entirely. Why have grass when you can have flowers, even if some of those flowers are what others might deem a useless weed.

BTW, I identified the plant on my posting as "daisy fleabane" by counting rays (more than 50; fewer than 100), the leaves toothed but not clasping, and the flower head size—none being more than 3/4 of an inch across. Even so, I'm no more than 50 percent sure mine wasn't also common fleabane. Not, as you point out, that it matters.

Anonymous said...

In my neck of the woods, we call them "Oregon Daisy".

Gigi

Lynne at Hasty Brook said...

I'm often confused by the names od wildflowers and this one is no exception.
Pretty flower though.

Carolyn H said...

Griz: I'm wrong so often when I try to ID things that anymore I just give it my best shot. I'm good with birds but anything else is hit or miss, I'm afraid.

Carolyn H.

Carolyn H said...

Gigi: Now there's a name for them I haven't heard before. Of course, I don't live in Oregon, so I guess not knowing that shouldn't be a surprise...

Carolyn H.

Carolyn H said...

Lynne: so many flowers, so little time. They are all pretty, though, and I think that's the main thing.

Carolyn H.

Cathy said...

Hmm, I'm not sure if I have the pink ones up here. Just remember seeing the white ones. Oh course the only thing I'm seeing this past week is clouds and rain for the most part.