Erigeron philadelphicus L.

Erigeron philadelphicus plant

Family - Asteraceae

Stems - To .75m, fistulose, ribbed, sparse to densely villous, erect, herbaceous, single or multiple from the base, branching at the apex in the inflorescence, from fleshy fibrous roots.

Erigeron philadelphicus stem

Erigeron philadelphicus roots

Leaves - Alternate, sessile. Lowest leaves in a basal rosette, coarse serrate, spatulate, to +10cm long, +3cm broad, rounded to acute at the apex. Cauline leaves clasping, auriculate, serrate, acute, oblong-lanceolate, reduced upward. All leaves typically strigose to villous above and below.

Erigeron philadelphicus leaves

Inflorescence - Bracteate loose cymose arrangement of flower heads terminating the stems. Peduncles strigose and glandular pubescent, hollow just below the receptacle. Flower heads often subtended by one or two phyllary-like bracts.

Erigeron philadelphicus inflorescence

Involucre - To 6mm tall (long) 7-8mm in diameter. Phyllaries in one or two series, glandular pubescent, green with scarious margins and apices, acute, erose to fimbriate at the apex, 6mm long, 1.5mm broad.

Erigeron philadelphicus involucreInvolucre.

Ray flowers - +100 per flower head, fertile and pistillate. Ligule whitish or (more commonly) pink, to 1cm long, .7mm broad, glabrous, rounded to subacute at the apex. Achene sericeous. Pappus of barbellate capillary bristles to 3mm long, white.

Disk flowers - Disk to 1cm broad. Disk corollas to 3.5mm long, 5-lobed, yellow at the apex, whitish basally, sparse strigose externally. Lobes acute, .5mm long. Stamens 5, adnate near the basal 1/3 of the corolla tube. Anthers connate around the style, partially exserted, yellowish-brown. Style glabrous, bifurcate, yellow at the apex. Achene pubescent. Pappus of barbellate capillary bristles to 3mm long. Receptacle convex to slightly conic.

Erigeron philadelphicus flowers

Flowering - April - June.

Habitat - Disturbed sites, open fields, open woods, moist soil, gravel bars, waste ground, roadsides, railroads.

Origin - Native to U.S.

Other info. - This species has the most ray flowers of any Erigeron species in Missouri. It is not as common as the weedy E. annuus but can be found scattered throughout the state.
In traditional medicine a tea made from the plant was used as a diuretic and astringent. It was also used to treat kidney stones, diarrhea, and diabetes. Some people have a reaction to handling the plant.

Photographs taken at the Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge, 5-3-00, and in Brown Summit, NC., 4-29-03.