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Erigeron Glaucus.jpg
Erigeron glaucus, seaside daisy
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Asterids
Order: Asterales
Family: Asteraceae
Subfamily: Asteroideae
Tribe: Astereae
Subtribe: Conyzinae
Genus: Erigeron
Around 460 species
  • Astradelphus J.Rémy
  • Polyactis Less.
  • Dimorphanthes Cass.
  • Fragmosa Raf.
  • Woodvillea DC.
  • Stenactis Cass.
  • Terranea Colla
  • Conyzoides Fabr.
  • Trimorpha Cass.
  • Eschenbachia Moench
  • Brachyactis Ledeb.
  • Musteron Raf.
  • Heterochaeta DC. 1836, illegitimate homonym not Besser 1827 (Poaceae)
  • Polyactidium DC.
  • Wyomingia A.Nelson
  • Fimbrillaria Cass.
  • Trimorphaea Cass.
  • Phalacroloma Cass.
  • Asterigeron Rydb.
  • Achaetogeron A.Gray
  • Gusmania J.Rémy
  • Diplemium Raf.

Erigeron (/ɪˈrɪərɒn/)[4] is a large genus of plants in the family Asteraceae.[5] It is closely related to the genus Aster and the true daisies in the genus Bellis. The genus has a cosmopolitan distribution in dry, mountainous areas and grassland, with the highest diversity in North America.[5][6][7][8][9]


Its English name, fleabane, is shared with related plants in several other genera. It appears to be derived from a belief that the dried plants repelled fleas[10] or that the plants were poisonous to fleas.[11] The generic name Erigeron is derived from the Ancient Greek words ἦρι (êri) "early in the morning" and γέρων (gérōn) "old man", a reference to the appearance of the white hairs of the fruit soon after flowering[12] or possibly alluding to the early appearance of the seed heads.[13] The noun γέρων is masculine,[14] so that specific epithets should have masculine endings (e.g. glaucus) to agree with it. However, authors have incorrectly used neuter endings (e.g. glaucum), because the ending -on resembles the ending of Ancient Greek neuter second declension nouns, as Augustin Pyramus de Candolle did in his 1836 account of the genus.[15]


The species may be annuals, biennials, or perennials. They are well-branched with erect stems, characterized by their numerous white, lavender, or pink ray flowers and yellow disc flowers. Some members of this group have no ray flowers. The pappus (=modified calyx, forming a crown) is shorter than in Aster, and consists of bristles. The ray florets are narrower than in Aster, but are clearly longer than the involucre (=whorled bracts).


Many species are used as ornamental plants, with numerous named cultivars such as 'Wayne Roderick', 'Charity', 'Foersters Liebling', and 'Dunkelste aller' ("The darkest of all" with semidouble, deep-violet flower heads).[16][17]


Erigeron species are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including Bucculatrix angustata, Coleophora squamosella (which feeds exclusively on E. acris), Schinia intermontana, Schinia obscurata (both of which also feed exclusively on Erigeron), Schinia sexata (which feeds exclusively on E. glabellus) and Schinia villosa.

Selected species[edit]

As of 2020 Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew's Plants of the World Online lists around 460 species of plants in the genus Erigeron.[2] Selected species include:

The following names are not accepted as of 2020 in Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew's Plants of the World Online database:[2]


  1. ^ Linnaeus, Carl (1753). Species plantarum : exhibentes plantas rite cognitas ad genera relatas, cum differentiis specificis, nominibus trivialibus, synonymis selectis, locis natalibus, secundum systema sexuale digestas (in Latin). Vol. 2. Berlin: Junk. p. 863.
  2. ^ a b c "Erigeron L." Plants of the World Online. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Retrieved 6 December 2020.
  3. ^ Flann, C (ed) 2009+ Global Compositae Checklist
  4. ^ Sunset Western Garden Book (6th ed.). Sunset Books. 1995. pp. 606–607. ISBN 978-0-376-03850-0.
  5. ^ a b Nesom, Guy L (2006), "Erigeron", in Flora of North America Editorial Committee, eds. 1993+ (ed.), Flora of North America, vol. 20, New York & Oxford: Oxford University Press, p. 256
  6. ^ Linnaeus, Carl von. 1753. Species Plantarum 2: 863-865 in Latin
  7. ^ Tropicos, Erigeron L.
  8. ^ RHS A-Z encyclopedia of garden plants. United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. 2008. p. 1136. ISBN 978-1405332965.
  9. ^ The Plant List, search for Erigeron
  10. ^ Frances Perry wrote in Collins Guide to Border Plants (2nd edition, 1956) p.146 that it was reputed to repel insects but that the name referred to a tropical species which has a particularly strong odour
  11. ^ see Oxford English Dictionary under 'Flea-bane' and under 'Bane' para 2.b. The earliest quotation cited in the O.E.D. is dated 1813 when Humphry Davy in Elements of Agricultural Chemistry stated that the fleabane of Canada had only recently been found in Europe
  12. ^ Hyam, R. & Pankhurst, R.J. (1995). Plants and their names : a concise dictionary. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 178. ISBN 978-0-19-866189-4.
  13. ^ Frances Perry: Collins Guide to Border Plants 2nd edition (1956) p.145
  14. ^ γέρων in Liddell, Henry George; Scott, Robert (1940) A Greek–English Lexicon, revised and augmented throughout by Jones, Sir Henry Stuart, with the assistance of McKenzie, Roderick. Oxford: Clarendon Press. In the Perseus Digital Library, Tufts University.
  15. ^ de Candolle, Augustin Pyramus (1836). "Erigeron". Prodromus systematis naturalis regni vegetabilis. pp. 283–296. Retrieved 2014-02-11.
  16. ^ Perry, Leonard. "Erigeron". Retrieved 6 December 2020.
  17. ^ "RHS Plant Selector - Erigeron 'Dunkelste Aller'". Retrieved 17 July 2013.