Thursday, January 9, 2014

Daisy fleabane - Erigeron quercifolius

Daisy fleabane (Erigeron quercifolius) is a herbaceous short-lived perennial found statewide in a variety of open, upland disturbed habitats.  Outside of Florida, it is common in much of the Southeast.  It is often found along roadsides and open fields as it takes quick opportunity to colonize just about any opening or disturbance.
Daisy fleabane is also known as "oakleaf" fleabane as the basal leaves are lobed like some oaks are. In fact, the Latin name means "foliage like an oak."  These leaves form rosettes that are up to 6 inches across. The leaves lie flat to the ground, are somewhat linear and have a deeply notched margin.  They also are often yellow-green on color and are rough to the touch.
Leaves emerge in the spring or overwinter and the basal leaves form colonies of many plants.  Flower stalks emerge from the center of each and reach a mature height of 12-24 inches by early summer.  The flower heads are only 1/4-inch across, but are produced in large numbers.  Each is composed of many thin white ray petals surrounding a rounded yellow disc.  The flowers attract a diversity of small pollinators.
Daisy fleabane is sometimes sold commercially and can easily be propagated from seed collected in the late summer and fall.  It is not fussy as to growing conditions, but should not be grown in shade or in wet soils.  I find it to be a bit weedy, but can be attractive if used in mass with other wildflowers.

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