DAISY FLEABANE (Erigeron philadelphicus) belongs to the Asterraceae family
Searching the USDA site for more information about the fleabanes that invite themselves into my flower beds, I find that I have every right to be confused. There are many, many fleabanes. Kin to Robin Plantain, the wandering plant of this appears on the property in early summer and stays until late summer as companion to our other larger, studier plants. The fleabane looks like a miniature daisy with 50 or so white to light pink rays and a yellow middle.
So I can’t help but wonder if what we have is the Erigeron philadelphicus – which is perennial, or the truly wandering little ray of sunshine, the Erigeron annuus thus named because it is an annual. I found a site which was helpful in trying to decide what I have growing here in Nantahala which suggested noticing the leaves of the plant.
My leaves definitely clasp the stem, which, might indicate that what I have is the Erigeron philadelphicus…but their annual roaming from one place to the other in our garden might indicate that it is Erigeron annus.
This is not the first time nor will it be the last that identification of plant is frustratingly difficult.
Many of our plants once had medicinal use. This is not to say that they had true medicinal properties. The plant was once used to repel fleas, thus the name. Some plants actually do have medicinal value and are used by pharmaceutical companies in preparing medicinal compounds. The Peterson Field Guide of Eastern Medicinal Plants and Herbs is always a good source for information. In reading the entry for the daisy fleabane on page 184, there was a warning (!) stating that the plant may cause contact dermatitis.
If there is a specific piece of information regarding medicinal plants I footnote the source, but if I have gathered information from several sources I don’t. And so, I will say that: Plantain tea or Plantain oil was once made into a tonic and was used in folk medicine as a diuretic and for a variety of other medical problems ranging from bronchitis, piles, uterine and stomach hemorrhaging, and fevers.
For more information on the Eastern daisy fleabane, check out the USDA site for it.
For a PDF page, click here: Daisy Feabane