Conyza ramosissima Cronquist

Dwarf Fleabane


CC = 1
CW = 5
MOC = 48

© SRTurner

Family - Asteraceae/Astereae

Habit - Annual taprooted forb.

Stems - Spreading, sometimes with ascending tips, to 25 cm, usually highly branched, conspicuously pubescent with antrorse white hairs, the plant thus appearing canescent.

Conyza_ramosissima_stem2.jpg Stem and nodes.

© SRTurner

Leaves - Alternate, simple, entire, sessile, 0.5-2.5 cm long, narrowly linear, moderately to densely appressed-hairy.

Conyza_ramosissima_leaves.jpg Stems and leaves.

© SRTurner

Inflorescences - short panicles, often dense and well developed but sometimes appearing as short racemes or loose clusters at the branch tips.

Conyza_ramosissima_inflorescence.jpg Inflorescence.

© DETenaglia

Heads - Radiate but very inconspicuously so. Involucre 1.5-3.0 mm long, narrowly cup-shaped or slightly bell-shaped or urn-shaped. Involucral bracts in 2-4 unequal, overlapping series, narrowly lanceolate to linear, the tip ascending, with a slender to relatively broad, green or brown central stripe, and with relatively slender, thin, pale margins, glabrous or sparsely appressed-hairy. Receptacle flat or nearly so, relatively smooth.

Conyza_ramosissima_heads3.jpg Flowering and fruiting heads.

© SRTurner

Conyza_ramosissima_heads.jpg Flowering heads.

© SRTurner

Conyza_ramosissima_heads2.jpg Flowering heads.

© SRTurner

Conyza_ramosissima_heads4.jpg Flowering heads.

© SRTurner

Ray flowers - 18-30, pistillate, the ligule pale pink to light purple.

Disk flowers - 3-8, perfect, yellow.

Fruits - Achenes 1.0-1.5 mm long, narrowly oblong in outline, flattened, the angles usually with inconspicuous nerves, the surface usually sparsely to moderately and minutely hairy, light tan to pale grayish brown.

Conyza_ramosissima_fruits.jpg Fruits.

© SRTurner

Flowering - May - September.

Habitat - Fields, pastures, prairies, glades, lawns, sidewalks, roadsides, railroads, open disturbed areas.

Origin - Native to the U.S.

Lookalikes - None.

Other info. - This low, nondescript species is often missed or ignored, having an appearance which is the very antithesis of showy. It occurs throughout Missouri but is probably undercollected. Beyond Missouri it range is predominantly within the Midwest. It normally looks nothing at all like its sibling Conyza canadensis, which is typically tall and erect rather than low and extensively branched. However, C. canadensis is highly variable, sometimes flowering when only a few inches high, and the flowering heads of the two plants are very similar. A key character for identification are the strongly appressed, forward-pointing white hairs on the stems of C. ramosissima, which will clearly differentiate this species from any specimens of C. canadensis which may have been forced into a low, branched habit due to mowing. These hairs lend a grayish cast to the entire plant.

This species has a bitter taste and is avoided by livestock. It is highly disturbance adapted and can be sometimes be found growing in urban sidewalk cracks and other hostile environments. Another name for the plant is Erigeron divaricatus. Divaricatus means "widely spreading" and ramosissima means "much branched." Both names are highly appropriate.

Photographs taken at the Kansas City Zoo, 7-12-99, and in St. Louis, MO., 7-28-03 (DETenaglia); also near the Missouri Botanical Garden's Monsanto Building, St. Louis, MO, 7-23-2015, and at Shaw Nature Reserve, 8-12-2020 and 8-21-2021 (SRTurner).