Crooked Run Valley
eastern daisy fleabane (Erigeron annuus)
eastern daisy fleabane
Erigeron annuus (L.) Pers. var. discoideus (Vict. & J. Rousseau)
Stenactis annua (L.) Nees
TAXONOMY: The current scientific name of eastern daisy fleabane
is Erigeron annuus (L.) Pers.
NATIVE STATUS: Native, United States and Canada.
GENERAL BOTANICAL CHARACTERISTICS:
Habit: Daisy fleabane is a delicate wildflower that measures approximately 30-150 cm. in height.
Leaves: Eastern daisy fleabane has two different types of leaves; lanceolate-to-ovate, basal leaves are long, measuring approximately 15 cm. in length and are covered in coarse hairs. The leaves along the stem are considerably smaller, toothed, clasping, and are also somewhat hairy.
Flowers: The composite flowers of daisy fleabane are comprised of at least forty rayless flowers. The radially symmetrical flowering structure is characterized by a wide, bright yellow, central disk that is surrounded by short, petal-like, white rays. These rays are short compared to the width of the central disk and are supported underneath by green sepals of equal length. Composite flowers are positioned singularly atop the terminal shoot of downy stems.
Fruit/Seed: Fruit is a small nondescript seed head, the fine seed is less than 1 millimeter long, brown and nearly plumeless.
Roots: The root system is fibrous and spreading.
REGENERATION PROCESS: Eastern daisy fleabane propogates itself by reseeding.
HABITAT TYPES: Typical habitats include disturbed areas of moist to slightly dry prairies, pastures and abandoned fields, areas along roadsides and railroads, disturbed open woods, and various kinds of waste areas.
SITE CHARACTERISTICS: Eastern daisy fleabane prefers full or partial sun, and moist to mesic conditions. It is adaptable of a wide variety of soil characteristics; it tolerates clay or gravel to a greater extent than many species.
SEASONAL DEVELOPMENT: The blooming period begins in early summer and continues intermittently until the fall. The achenes have tufts of small hairs (which are distributed by the wind.
GENERAL DISTRIBUTION: With the exception of Arizona, Nevada, Colorado, Wyoming, and Montana, eastern daisy fleabane is found throughout the United States and all but the most northern territories of Canada.
SKY MEADOWS DISTRIBUTION: To be determined.
IMPORTANCE AND USES: The nectar and pollen of the flowerheads attract a variety of insects, including Halictid bees, masked bees (Hylaeus spp.), Sphecid wasps, Vespid wasps, Syrphid flies, soldier flies (Stratiomyidae), blow flies (Lucilia spp.), Tachinid flies, flesh flies (Sarcophagidae), plant bugs, and miscellaneous beetles. Various insects feed on the foliage, roots, and other parts of annual fleabane. These species include a leaf beetle (Calligrapha praecelsis), larvae of a gall fly (Asteromyia modesta), tarnished plant bug (Lygus lineolaris), red-spotted aster mirid (Polymerus basalis), broken-backed bug (Taylorilygus apicalis), some aphids (Uroleucon erigeronense, Uroleucon gravicorne, Prociphilus erigeronensis), and larvae of the lynx flower moth (Schinia lynx). Some mammalian herbivores have been observed eating the foliage of fleabanes, including sheep and deer. The wild house mouse and white-footed mouse also eat the seeds.