Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Marsh fleabane

with 14 comments

Marsh fleabane; click for more detail.

The daubs of color that appeared beyond the peppervine leaves in the post before the last one were from the flowers and buds of marsh fleabane, Pluchea odorata. As you can tell from the marsh in the common name, this plant grows on wet ground, often at the edge of a creek or pond. As for the odorata in the scientific name, the plant admittedly has a strong scent. Some people find it fragrant, others not so pleasant; the plant and my nose have gradually won me over to the fragrant camp.

This close-up of buds (pink on slightly tinged white) and opening flowers (darker pink on lighter pink) is from a session at Meadow Lake Park in Round Rock on August 9. Adjacent to the marsh fleabane and even touching it were the leaves and red-branched shoots of a very young black willow tree, Salix nigra, another species that thrives near water. The narrow leaves with the jagged edges are from the willow; the smooth-margined leaves at the bottom center of the photograph are from the marsh fleabane.

To find more about Pluchea odorata, including a clickable map showing the many places in North America where this species grows, you can visit the USDA website.

© 2011 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 10, 2011 at 5:55 AM

14 Responses

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  1. Have you any idea if this plant has some medicinal or other “purpose”? I’m curious – because, of course, you feature another plant I’ve never seen before. 🙂


    September 10, 2011 at 7:48 AM

  2. The English applied the term fleabane to various plants that they believed could be used in mattresses to repel fleas. Whether marsh fleabane really has that ability I don’t know, and none of the books I’ve quickly looked at mention that or any other use, but if there’s a student of botany who needs a project for school, here’s one for the taking.

    Steve Schwartzman

    September 10, 2011 at 8:11 AM

  3. Thank you for the link to your site !!!

    Writing Letters & Postcards

    September 10, 2011 at 10:10 AM

    • Welcome to you, writer of letters and postcards. I’ll add—modestly, of course—that here you’ll find some pictures that could easily be turned into postcards, and there’s accompanying text that could go on the back.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 10, 2011 at 10:26 AM

  4. Beautiful picture, Steve. I love the detailed observation in your words, and the real sense you capture of the environment in which the Marsh Fleabane lives.

    Suzanne Askham

    September 10, 2011 at 11:39 AM

    • Thanks, Suzanne. I appreciate your appreciating the combination of image and words, both being realms I’ve continued to inhabit.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 10, 2011 at 12:06 PM

  5. Very pretty. I think that’s a species of fleabane that I’ve not seen.


    September 10, 2011 at 11:17 PM

    • It is a pretty plant. I see that the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center lists dozens of species that have a common name with fleabane in them. I’m afraid this one doesn’t make it into Montana, but if you ever visit central Texas, it’s pretty common here.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 11, 2011 at 12:10 AM

  6. When I first saw the picture, it reminded me of Swamp Milkweed- interesting plant!

    Watching Seasons

    September 11, 2011 at 4:52 PM

  7. […] these water-loving wildflowers look in the springtime of their lives, if not of the year, the post of September 10 will do the trick.) I took this picture on November 23 at a pond that’s hidden away in a […]

  8. […] Meadow Lake Park in Round Rock, while I was photographing marsh fleabane flowers and the shoots of very young black willow trees on August 9, I noticed that a lot of the reddish shoots of the willows were covered with a white […]

  9. […] but if you’d like a colorful reminder of what one of these plants looks like when fresh, you can take a look back at a post from the early months of this […]

  10. […] are a type of aster, Symphyotrichum subulatum. The fluffy seed heads to the right of center are marsh fleabane, Pluchea odorata. The green saplings are black willow trees, Salix negra. The brown stalks in the […]

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