Erechtites hieraciifolius (L.) Raf. ex DC.

American burnweed

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New England Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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North America Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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Facts About

There are two very distinct varieties of American burnweed. One of them (Erechtites hieracifolius var. hieracifolius) inhabits fields, clearings and disturbed sites, and is distributed throughout New England and across much of North America. The other (E. hieracifolius var. megalocarpus) is a restricted endemic found only on sandy sea beaches and the edges of salt marshes from Massachusetts to New Jersey.

Habitat

Anthropogenic (man-made or disturbed habitats), brackish or salt marshes and flats, coastal beaches (sea beaches), meadows and fields, wetland margins (edges of wetlands)

Characteristics

Habitat
  • terrestrial
  • wetlands
New England state
  • Connecticut
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont
Leaf type
leaves are simple (i.e., lobed or unlobed but not separated into leaflets)
Leaf arrangement
alternate: there is one leaf per node along the stem
Leaf blade edges
  • the edge of the leaf blade has lobes, or it has both teeth and lobes
  • the edge of the leaf blade has teeth
Flower type in flower heads
the flower head has disk flowers only, and lacks the strap-shaped flowers
Ray flower color
NA
Tuft or plume on fruit
at least a part of the plume is made up of fine bristles
Spines on plant
the plant has no spines
Leaf blade length
30–200 mm
Show All Characteristics
  • Flowers
    Bases of bract appendages
    NA
    Bract cycle number
    • there are two main cycles of bracts
    • there is one main cycle of bracts
    Bract margins
    there are few or no fine hairs along the bract margins
    Bract separation
    the bracts appear completely unconnected to one another on all flower heads
    Bract tip orientation
    the bracts are pressed against the plant, or spreading out at the tips
    Bract tip shape
    • the tips of the bracts acute (have a sharp point)
    • the tips of the bracts are acuminate (tapered to a narrow point)
    • the tips of the bracts are obtuse (have a blunt point)
    • the tips of the bracts are rounded
    Bract width
    0.5–3
    Disk flower color
    • pink to red
    • white
    Disk flower reproductive parts
    • the disk flower has both pollen- and seed-producing parts
    • the disk flower has either only pollen- or only seed-producing parts
    Disk flower shape
    the disk flower is tube-shaped (cylindrical), or gradually widening like a funnel
    Disk width
    5–12 mm
    Flower head number
    • each flowering stem has four or more flower heads on it
    • each flowering stem has only one to three flower heads on it
    Flower head outer flowers
    at the outer edge of the flower head, the flowers have no enlarged lobe or strap, and are of similar size as those in the center of the disk
    Flower head platform
    the base has no bristles or papery scales
    Flower head platform surface
    NA
    Flower head profile
    the disk is flat or nearly flat across the top
    Flower head shape
    • the flower head is shaped like a cone with the point up
    • the sides of the flower head are roughly parallel, like a cylinder
    Flower type in flower heads
    the flower head has disk flowers only, and lacks the strap-shaped flowers
    Height of flower head base
    10–15 mm
    Inflorescence branching (Solidago)
    NA
    Inflorescence shape
    • the inflorescence is flat-topped in profile
    • the inflorescence is not flat-topped but appears rounded, with some flower heads distinctly higher than others
    Ovary attachment
    the ovary is attached at or near the base
    Ovary hairs
    • the ovary has hairs on it
    • the ovary has no hairs on it
    Ovary lines or ribs
    there are ten or more ribs visible on the ovary
    Ovary profile
    in profile, the ovary is lanceolate (widest below the middle, tapering to both ends)
    Ray flower color
    NA
    Ray flower reproductive parts
    NA
    Ray flowers
    0
    Ray length
    0 mm
    Reproductive system
    • all the flowers on the plant contain both carpels and stamens
    • some of the flowers on the plant have only carpels or stamens, while others have both carpels and stamens
    Scale tip
    NA
    Smaller bracts at base of bracts
    • there is a cycle of much smaller bracts outside the cycle of larger and longer bracts
    • there is no smaller, outer cycle of bracts
    Width of flower head base
    4–8 mm
  • Fruits or seeds
    Number of pappus parts
    11 or more
    Ovary length in developed fruit
    2–5.5 mm
    Ovary width in developed fruit
    0.4–0.7 mm
    Seed hair tuft color
    the pappus hairs are white or off-white
    Seed hair tuft details
    the pappus hairs are hooked or barbed
    Seed hair tuft length
    10–14 mm
    Seed hair tuft tips
    the pappus hairs are slender
    Seed hairs uniform
    all the pappus hairs are approximately the same length
    Seed tuft scale number
    0
    Seed tuft type
    the pappus is made of very fine hairs or bristles
    Top of disk flower ovary
    NA
    Tuft or plume on fruit
    at least a part of the plume is made up of fine bristles
  • Glands or sap
    Leaf blade glands
    the leaf blades have no glandular (translucent) dots or scales
    Sap
    the sap is clear and watery
  • Growth form
    Growth form
    the plant has one or more free-standing stems
    Plant lifespan
    the plant is annual, it lacks evidence of previous years' growth
    Spines on plant
    the plant has no spines
    Underground organs
    there is a thickened taproot on the plant
  • Leaves
    Hairs on underside of leaf blade
    • the underside of the leaf is fuzzy or hairy
    • the underside of the leaf is not hairy, or has very few hairs
    Leaf arrangement
    alternate: there is one leaf per node along the stem
    Leaf blade base
    • the leaf has a distinct petiole
    • the leaf has no petiole
    • the leaf has no petiole and at the base it clasps the stem, or goes all the way around the stem so the stem appears to pierce the leaf
    Leaf blade base shape
    the base of the leaf blade is cuneate (wedge-shaped, tapers to the base with relatively straight, converging edges), or narrow
    Leaf blade bloom
    the underside of the leaf has no noticeable bloom
    Leaf blade edges
    • the edge of the leaf blade has lobes, or it has both teeth and lobes
    • the edge of the leaf blade has teeth
    Leaf blade length
    30–200 mm
    Leaf blade shape
    • the leaf blade is elliptic (widest near the middle and tapering at both ends)
    • the leaf blade is lanceolate (lance-shaped; widest below the middle and tapering at both ends)
    • the leaf blade is oblanceolate (lance-shaped, but with the widest point above the middle of the leaf blade)
    • the leaf blade is obovate (egg-shaped, but with the widest point above the middle of the leaf blade)
    • the leaf blade is ovate (widest below the middle and broadly tapering at both ends)
    Leaf blade surface colors
    there is no noticeable color variation on the upper surface of the leaf
    Leaf blade tip
    • the tip of the leaf blade is acuminate (tapers to a long, thin point)
    • the tip of the leaf blade is acute (sharply pointed)
    Leaf blade veins
    the leaf blade has one main vein running from the base towards the tip
    Leaf blade width
    10–80 mm
    Leaf disposition
    the leaves are nearly similar in size, prominence of teeth, and length of stalks throughout the stem
    Leaf spines
    there are no spines on the leaf edges
    Leaf stalk
    • the leaves have leaf stalks
    • the leaves have no leaf stalks, but attach directly to the stem
    Leaf stalk length
    At least 0 mm
    Leaf tip extension
    NA
    Leaf type
    leaves are simple (i.e., lobed or unlobed but not separated into leaflets)
    Leaflet number
    0
    Specific leaf type
    • the leaf has a row of two or more lobes on each side of the central axis
    • the leaves are simple (i.e., lobed or unlobed but not separated into leaflets
    Teeth per side of leaf blade
    At least 0
  • Place
    Habitat
    • terrestrial
    • wetlands
    New England state
    • Connecticut
    • Maine
    • Massachusetts
    • New Hampshire
    • Rhode Island
    • Vermont
    Specific habitat
    • brackish or salt marshes and flats
    • edges of wetlands
    • man-made or disturbed habitats
    • meadows or fields
    • sea beaches
  • Scent
    Plant odor
    the plant does not have much of an odor
  • Stem, shoot, branch
    Flowering stem cross-section
    the flowering stem is circular, or with lots of small angles
    Leaves on stem
    there is at least one full leaf above the base of the flowering stem
    Stem bloom
    there is no powdery or waxy film on the stem
    Stem internode hair direction
    the hairs point mostly upwards to outwards
    Stem internode hair length
    At least 0 mm
    Stem internode hairs
    • the stem has hairs between the nodes
    • the stem has no hairs between the nodes
    Stem wings
    the stem does not have wings on it

Wetland Status

Usually occurs in non-wetlands, but occasionally in wetlands. (Wetland indicator code: FACU)

New England Distribution and Conservation Status

Distribution

Connecticut
present
Maine
present
Massachusetts
present
New Hampshire
present
Rhode Island
present
Vermont
present

Conservation Status

Exact status definitions can vary from state to state. For details, please check with your state.

var. megalocarpus

Massachusetts
rare to uncommon (S-rank: S2S3), #NAME? (code: #NAME?)

Native to North America?

Yes and no (some introduced)

Synonyms

  • Erechtites hieraciifolius var. intermedius Fern.
  • Erechtites hieraciifolius var. praealtus (Raf.) Fern.
  • Senecio hieraciifolius L.

Family

Asteraceae

Genus

Erechtites

Notes on Subspecies and Varieties in New England

Erechtites hieraciifolius (L.) Raf. ex DC. var. hieraciifolius is known from CT, MA, ME, NH, RI, VT.Erechtites hieraciifolius var. megalocarpus (Fern.) Cronq. is known from CT, MA, RI.

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Information from Dichotomous Key of Flora Novae Angliae

1.  Erechtites hieraciifolius (L.) Raf. ex DC. N

American burnweed.  1a. Erechtites hieraciifolius (L.) Raf. ex DC. var. intermedius Fern.; 
 E. hieraciifolius (L.) Raf. ex DC. var. praealtus (Raf.) Fern.; Senecio hieraciifolius L.;  1b. Erechtites megalocarpus Fern. • CT, MA, ME, NH, RI, VT. Dry-mesic to wet-mesic fields, clearings, and disturbed soil, also sandy sea beaches and edges of saline marshes.

1a.  Cypsela body 2–3 mm long, with mostly 10–12 longitudinal ribs; inner (i.e., longer) series of involucral bracts attenuate at apex, 0.5–1.5 mm wide at the scarcely widened base; denuded receptacle 5–8.5 mm wide; leaf blades herbaceous; plants primarily of inland areas (casually found in coastal and near coastal habitats) … 1a. E. hieraciifolius var. hieraciifolius

1b.  Cypsela body 4–5.5 mm long, with mostly 16–20 longitudinal ribs; inner involucral bracts obtuse to rounded at apex, 1–3 mm wide at the prominently widened base; denuded receptacle 9–12 mm wide; leaf blades somewhat fleshy; plants restricted to coastal habitats 
 … 1b. E. hieraciifolius var. megalocarpus (Fern.) Cronq.

Variety hieraciifolius is known from CT, MA, ME, NH, RI, VT. Variety megalocarpus is known 
from CT, MA, RI.