Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Guest Post 5: a closer look at daisy fleabane

with 23 comments

Erigeron annuus 4945

Here’s a closer look at the Erigeron annuus, or eastern daisy fleabane, I saw at Bartholomew’s Cobble near the southwestern corner of Massachusetts on June 29. (I’d originally shown a photograph with a beetle on these flowers, but the insect turned out to be a Japanese beetle, which obviously isn’t native to Massachusetts.)

© 2012 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 17, 2012 at 1:10 PM

23 Responses

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  1. Looks like a Japanese Beetle to me?????


    July 17, 2012 at 2:26 PM

    • Drat: I just compared some pictures online and you seem to be right. Had I known, I wouldn’t have posted this picture. Here’s what Wikipedia says about the Japanese beetle: “It is not very destructive in Japan, where it is controlled by natural predators, but in America it is a serious pest of about 200 species of plants, including rose bushes, grapes, hops, canna, crape myrtles, and others.”

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 17, 2012 at 2:40 PM

      • They are the bane to the gardeners here in the NE….


        July 17, 2012 at 2:50 PM

      • So now we have fleabane and gardeners’ bane in the same picture.

        Steve Schwartzman

        July 17, 2012 at 2:57 PM

  2. I got a good shot of one yesterday, and have been debating whether to post it. Maybe I will just stick on my Flickr site. Is that the colored fleabane? We used to have that one and white, but now I can on find white.


    July 17, 2012 at 3:06 PM

    • I’m afraid I’m not familiar with a colored daisy fleabane. Do you happen to know the scientific name for it?

      In Texas there’s a different plant called marsh fleabane that has color in its buds and flowers:


      Steve Schwartzman

      July 17, 2012 at 3:12 PM

      • What we have is Daisy Fleabane, Erigeron annuus. I just looked in my New England field guide, (Audubon) and it says that the petals on this plant can be white, purple, or pink. I have not seen pink at all, and the purple is not deep purple, but a medium pale shade.


        July 17, 2012 at 4:11 PM

        • Ah, so you have the same species shown here. I’ve noticed that the Erigeron modestus in Austin often has a faint tinge of violet or pink in the white, with the greatest amount of color seeming to occur when the plant is still budding, as in this picture. Perhaps the opening buds of your species have that temporary purple as well.

          Steve Schwartzman

          July 17, 2012 at 4:28 PM

          • I can’t find my photo of the purple, but did a google search of daisy fleabane and saw lots of both pink and purple in the images. My Readers Digest wildflower book says white to purplish for the blossoms, and the regular Audubon wildflower book says white to pink. Check out the images and see what you think.


            July 17, 2012 at 4:45 PM

  3. It’s definitely a Japanese beetle, and often wreaks havoc. We used to pay our kids and neighbors’ kids a penny a piece to pick them and put them in a jar. Great way to control these invaders, Sally


    July 17, 2012 at 4:43 PM

    • I guess I can’t claim my penny for the one I captured in this photo. Too bad that’s what it turned out to be. The only consolation is that you do get a closer look at the fleabane flowers and buds.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 17, 2012 at 4:48 PM

  4. Even though they are a gardener’s enemy, they are beautiful to look at!

    Bonnie Michelle

    July 17, 2012 at 6:01 PM

  5. I love the composition of the photo, and as Bonnie says, it’s still a lovely beetle. It looks like it’s made of Carnival Glass. The only good news I found is that there are ways to control it other than heavy application of truly awful chemicals, but I can imagine it as much of a pain as fireants.

    I am curious why both you and sandy expressed reluctance to post its photo. Think of it as a mug shot. 😉


    July 17, 2012 at 7:27 PM

    • In this blog I do my best to promote native species, and one way to do that is to post only pictures of species that are indeed native to the area(s) where I’m working. That’s what I strive for, but it’s not always possible. Species do change their ranges. Beyond that, and in spite of my intentions, my knowledge is limited and sometimes I mess up. I like your “out” of thinking of this picture as a mug shot—a well-composed one, and of an attractive criminal.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 17, 2012 at 9:05 PM

      • Ah! That makes perfect sense. Native flora, native fauna. It never occurred to me. 😉


        July 17, 2012 at 9:11 PM

      • It’s harder to stay “pure” with the insects because there are so many thousands of species of them.

        Steve Schwartzman

        July 17, 2012 at 9:37 PM

  6. No entiendo de animalitos jajajaja, pero me encanta la toma, la composición y los colores muy buenos, abrazos


    July 17, 2012 at 7:31 PM

    • Yo tampoco entiendo mucho de animalitos, y en este caso me quivoqué. En todos casos, gracias por haber apreciado la composición y los colores.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 17, 2012 at 9:08 PM

  7. I’ve never cared for that name for such a pretty little flower. But obviously it’s not a “bug” bane.


    July 17, 2012 at 11:44 PM

    • Well said, and too bad, as things turned out, that this plant doesn’t ward off Japanese beetles. The jury’s still out on whether it’ll make a flea flee.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 18, 2012 at 6:33 AM

  8. I enjoyed the conversation over this one~ eek! Japanese Beetles! They’ve eaten just about everything in my garden that hasn’t succumbed to the heat and drought we’ve had this summer. Except, as it happens, my daisy fleabanes. I don’t plant them but when they come, I trim them and enjoy an exuberance of white blooms dancing in the ruins of my garden.


    July 19, 2012 at 12:28 PM

    • Hey, you’ve provided good anecdotal evidence that this plant is a beetlebane. I’m sorry that the rest of your garden has become a ruin, but there’s always next year to look forward to: nature is resilient.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 19, 2012 at 12:31 PM

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