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Erigeron Glaucus.jpg
Erigeron glaucus, Seaside Daisy
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Asterales
Family: Asteraceae
Tribe: Astereae
Genus: Erigeron

Erigeron (/ɨˈrɪərɒn/)[2] is a large genus of plants in the daisy family.[3] It is sometimes confused with other closely related genera, Aster and the true daisy Bellis. The genus has a cosmopolitan distribution in dry, mountainous areas and grassland, with the highest diversity in North America.[3][4][5][6][7]


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 [8] or that the plants were poisonous to fleas.[9] The generic name Erigeron is derived from the Greek (eri = early; geron = old man), a reference to the appearance of the white hairs of the fruit soon after flowering[10] or possibly alluding to the early appearance of the seed heads.[11] The Ancient Greek word γέρων is masculine,[12] so that specific epithets should have masculine endings (e.g. glaucus). However, authors have incorrectly used neuter endings (e.g. glaucum), as Augustin Pyramus de Candolle did in his 1836 account of the genus.[13]


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 semi-double, deep violet flower heads).[14]


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]


  1. ^ Flann, C (ed) 2009+ Global Compositae Checklist
  2. ^ Sunset Western Garden Book (6th ed.). 1995. pp. 606–607. ISBN 978-0-376-03850-0. 
  3. ^ a b Nesom, Guy L (2006), "Erigeron", in Flora of North America Editorial Committee, eds. 1993+, Flora of North America 20, New York & Oxford: Oxford University Press, p. 256 
  4. ^ Linnaeus, Carl von. 1753. Species Plantarum 2: 863-865 in Latin
  5. ^ Tropicos, Erigeron L.
  6. ^ RHS A-Z encyclopedia of garden plants. United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. 2008. p. 1136. ISBN 1405332964. 
  7. ^ The Plant List, search for Erigeron
  8. ^ 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
  9. ^ 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 Humphrey Davy in Elements of Agricultural Chemistry stated that the fleabane of Canada had only recently been found in Europe
  10. ^ 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. 
  11. ^ Frances Perry: Collins Guide to Border Plants 2nd edition (1956) p.145
  12. ^ Liddell, Henry George; Scott, Robert. "γέρων". Greek-English Lexicon. Retrieved 2014-02-11. 
  13. ^ de Candolle, Augustin Pyramus (1836). "Erigeron". Prodromus systematis naturalis regni vegetabilis. pp. 283–296. Retrieved 2014-02-11. 
  14. ^ "RHS Plant Selector - Erigeron 'Dunkelste Aller'". Retrieved 17 July 2013. 

External links[edit]