Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Guest Post 4: eastern daisy fleabane

with 12 comments

Click for greater clarity.

In central Texas I’m used to seeing—and you’ve already seen—prairie fleabane, Erigeron modestus, which grows individually or in small groups. What a contrast it was, on my trip in the Northeast, to encounter large stands of Erigeron annuus, known as eastern daisy fleabane. Most of the wildflowers I saw in the Northeast that grew in profusion along roadsides were alien, but here, finally, was one that proved to be native in that region. It turns out that Erigeron annuus grows in most American states and Canadian provinces, as you can verify on the clickable map at the USDA website.

I made this photograph on a hot June 29 at the nature preserve called Bartholomew’s Cobble near the southwestern corner of Massachusetts.

© 2012 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 17, 2012 at 6:07 AM

12 Responses

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  1. Steve,
    Fleabane. Interesting name! Is there any truth to it? I mean, are they in any way repellant to fleas? Just wondering.
    ~Kyle

    Kyle

    July 17, 2012 at 6:57 AM

    • There was certainly a belief that one or more species of fleabane would repel fleas, but I haven’t come across any articles or books that say whether it’s true. Sounds like a project for a science student.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 17, 2012 at 7:19 AM

      • I will have to keep an eye out for a patch of fleabane here in OK and sic my science student on it! His project this year involves cataloging life at the pond :o)

        Kyle

        July 17, 2012 at 9:15 AM

  2. Steve, I liked Kyle’s question and went looking for the answer. I found it on one of my favorite herbal sites: http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/f/flecom27.html

    It speaks of Fleabane’s European variety, but I wonder if it could apply to the families of fleabanes both here and abroad??? Or, is this a case of it looks like it so we’ll call it that? (early settlers)

    So, apparently it was thought that if you burnt the European variety that the smoke would repel fleas… interesting.
    ~ Lynda

    pixilated2

    July 17, 2012 at 7:43 AM

    • Thanks for checking, Lynda. I see that the fleabane on the site you linked to is Inula dysenterica, also called Pulicaria dysenterica (with the genus name Pulicaria coming from the Latin word for flea). This does seem to be “a case of it looks like it so we’ll call it that.” I’d say a science project involving one or more of our Erigeron species is still up for grabs.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 17, 2012 at 8:01 AM

      • I knew I could count on you for nailing it down. Thanks! So do we have any botanical science majors in the audience? 😉

        pixilated2

        July 17, 2012 at 9:41 AM

  3. […] metallic two-toned beetle had gotten there ahead of me, and no doubt it was still visiting that colony of attractive wildflowers after I left. This view also gives you a closer look than last time at the daisy fleabane’s […]

  4. Well, here I am, wandering on the far fringes of the fleabane patch. I couldn’t help but laugh at the etymological connection with the latest Bane of our existence – that would be the villain named Bane in the new Batman movie, who’s being rolled out in the media for political purposes. I believe the smartest move will be to stick with the fleabane, which is quite lovely and apparently apolitical.

    shoreacres

    July 17, 2012 at 7:09 PM

    • Blessedly apolitical! One good thing about a nature photography blog is that I can stay away from politics—I hope. I’ll confess that I knew nothing about the Bane in the the latest Batman movie, but four decades ago I met a teacher whose real last name was Batman. As for bane, it developed from Old English bana, which meant ‘slayer.’ What a contrast with the bana in Eve’s native language (Cebuano) that means ‘husband.’ Count me as a bana of the second kind.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 17, 2012 at 9:35 PM

  5. […] of the state called Bartholomew’s Cobble. This milkweed was growing just a few feet away from the colony of eastern daisy fleabanes you saw in Guest Post […]

  6. Hi. ‘Erigeron’ is one of my favorite Genus names. Great photo… Jane

    jane tims

    July 21, 2012 at 6:37 AM

    • According to Shinners and Mahler’s Illustrated Flora of North Central Texas, the name Erigeron is from Greek eri, which meant ‘early’, and geron, which meant ‘old man’ (compare geriatric). Erigeron was “the ancient name of an early-flowering plant with fluffy white seed heads.”

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 21, 2012 at 7:32 AM


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