Erigeron (/ɪˈrɪərɒn/)[3] is a large genus of plants in the daisy family.[4] 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.[4][5][6][7][8]

Erigeron Glaucus.jpg
Erigeron glaucus, seaside daisy
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Asterids
Order: Asterales
Family: Asteraceae
Subfamily: Asteroideae
Supertribe: Asterodae
Tribe: Astereae
Genus: Erigeron


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 [9] or that the plants were poisonous to fleas.[10] The generic name Erigeron is derived from the Ancient Greek words ἦρι (êri) "early in the morning" and γέρων (gérōn) "old man", a reference to the appearance of the white hairs of the fruit soon after flowering[11] or possibly alluding to the early appearance of the seed heads.[12] The noun γέρων is masculine,[13] so that specific epithets should have masculine endings (e.g. glaucus) to agree with it. However, authors have incorrectly used neuter endings (e.g. glaucum), because the ending -on resembles the ending of Ancient Greek neuter second declension nouns, as Augustin Pyramus de Candolle did in his 1836 account of the genus.[14]


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).[15]


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 speciesEdit


  1. ^ Linnaeus 1753, p. 863.
  2. ^ Flann, C (ed) 2009+ Global Compositae Checklist
  3. ^ Sunset Western Garden Book (6th ed.). 1995. pp. 606–607. ISBN 978-0-376-03850-0.
  4. ^ a b Nesom, Guy L (2006), "Erigeron", in Flora of North America Editorial Committee, eds. 1993+ (ed.), Flora of North America, 20, New York & Oxford: Oxford University Press, p. 256
  5. ^ Linnaeus, Carl von. 1753. Species Plantarum 2: 863-865 in Latin
  6. ^ Tropicos, Erigeron L.
  7. ^ RHS A-Z encyclopedia of garden plants. United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. 2008. p. 1136. ISBN 1405332964.
  8. ^ The Plant List, search for Erigeron
  9. ^ 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
  10. ^ 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 Humphry Davy in Elements of Agricultural Chemistry stated that the fleabane of Canada had only recently been found in Europe
  11. ^ 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.
  12. ^ Frances Perry: Collins Guide to Border Plants 2nd edition (1956) p.145
  13. ^ γέρων in Liddell, Henry George; Scott, Robert (1940) A Greek–English Lexicon, revised and augmented throughout by Jones, Sir Henry Stuart, with the assistance of McKenzie, Roderick. Oxford: Clarendon Press. In the Perseus Digital Library, Tufts University.
  14. ^ de Candolle, Augustin Pyramus (1836). "Erigeron". Prodromus systematis naturalis regni vegetabilis. pp. 283–296. Retrieved 2014-02-11.
  15. ^ "RHS Plant Selector - Erigeron 'Dunkelste Aller'". Retrieved 17 July 2013.


External linksEdit