Robin Plantain - Erigeron pulchellus (Composite or Daisy family - Compositae)

 

Robin Plantain - Erigeron pulchellus (Composite or Daisy family - Compositae) This is shorter and larger flowered than the Common Fleabane. Very soft and hairy. Few flowered (1 - 6); heads 1 to 1 1½ in. across. Rays pale lilac or magenta to violet. Basal leaves well stalked: broad toward tip and bluntly toothed. It is spread by runners, often forming colonies. 6 - 16 in. Open woods, fields. The generic name combines the Greek words eri, meaning "early," and geron, meaning "old man," alluding to the white down covering the stem and leaves of this early blooming plant.

 

Native Americans used it as a diuretic, a tonic and an astringent. Early settlers dried and burned it as an insect repellent. A similar species with more but smaller flowers is Common Fleabane (E. philadelphicus). Its flowers are pale in color are more numerous and begins blossoming after Robin Plantain. (See next month).

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