Common Fleabane

Common Fleabane
Common Fleabane. Erigeron philadelphicus.
Asteraceae, the daisy, sunflower, or composite family.

Plant: Erect, hairy, plant, to 3' tall, with terminal clusters of white or pinkish, many-rayed flowers. Annual or biennial.
Flowers: White or pinkish heads 1/2"-1", with many rays (150-400) surrounding a large, yellow center. Flowers form a compact, terminal cluster (cyme).
Leaves: Alternate, hairy, upper ones 1"-2", narrowly ovate to lanceolate, and clasping the stem; basal ones to 6", narrowly obovate to oblanceolate or spatulate.
Blooming: May-August
Habitat: Fields, thickets, clearings, and waste areas.

Comments: One of several fleabanes that grow in our area, this one has the most rays and blooms earliest. The common name refers to an old belief that the dried flowers would drive out fleas. Not clear if there is any basis in fact for this belief; some other members of the composite family, most notably pyrethrum spp. do have insecticidal properties.

Where to find it: Common in un-mowed fields and forest border areas throughout the park.