Higher classification Daisy family
Scientific name Erigeron
|Lower classifications Erigeron annuus, Erigeron karvinskianus, Erigeron philadelphicus, Erigeron glaucus, Erigeron acer|
Erigeron (/ᵻˈrɪdʒərɒn/) is a large genus of plants in the daisy family. 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.
Fleabane erigeron plant of the month march
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 or that the plants were poisonous to fleas. 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 or possibly alluding to the early appearance of the seed heads. The noun γέρων is masculine, 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.
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).
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.