Erigeron acris L.

bitter fleabane

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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

Bitter fleabane is a circumboreal species with a northern distribution that dips down into Northern Maine, where it may rarely be found in forest clearings and river banks.

Habitat

Forest edges, forests, shores of rivers or lakes

Characteristics

Habitat
  • terrestrial
  • wetlands
New England state
Maine
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
  • basal: the leaves are growing only at the base of the plant
Leaf blade edges
  • the edge of the leaf blade has no teeth or lobes
  • the edge of the leaf blade has teeth
Flower type in flower heads
the flower head has tubular disk flowers in the center and ray flowers, these often strap-shaped, around the periphery
Ray flower color
  • blue to purple
  • pink to red
  • white
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
20–140 mm
Flower head width
10–25 mm
Show All Characteristics
  • Flowers
    Bract color
    • the bracts are colored, or at least tinged with, pink, red or purple
    • the bracts are not colored or tinged with pink, red or purple
    Bract cycle number
    • there are three or more cycles of bracts
    • there are two main cycles of bracts
    Bract outer side hair type
    the bracts are hairy on their outer surfaces, with hairs having glands (a swelling at the tip of the hair)
    Bract outer side hairs
    the bracts are hairy on their outer surfaces
    Bract shape
    • the main bracts are elliptic (widest near the middle and tapered towards the base and tip)
    • the main bracts are lanceolate (widest above the base, then taper narrowly towards the tip)
    • the main bracts are linear (long and very narrow)
    Bract spines
    the bracts have no spines
    Bract texture
    the bracts have a similar texture to a leaf
    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)
    Bract width
    0.5–1
    Bracts
    the bracts in separate cycles are similar or gradually changing from the outer to inner cycles
    Disk flower color
    yellow
    Disk flower lobe number
    5
    Disk flower reproductive parts
    the disk flower has both pollen- and seed-producing parts
    Disk flower shape
    the disk flower is tube-shaped (cylindrical), or gradually widening like a funnel
    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, each flower has a single enlarged lobe or strap
    Flower head platform
    the base has no bristles or papery scales
    Flower head position
    some or all the flower heads are grouped in clusters of two or more
    Flower head profile
    • the disk is conical across the top
    • the disk is flat or nearly flat across the top
    Flower head shape
    • the flower head is hemispherical (like the bottom half of a sphere)
    • the flower head is shaped like a cone with the point up
    Flower head width
    10–25 mm
    Flower type in flower heads
    the flower head has tubular disk flowers in the center and ray flowers, these often strap-shaped, around the periphery
    Flowering stem width
    1–6 mm
    Height of flower head base
    5–12 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
    Inflorescence stem
    hairs are present on the stem of the inflorescence
    Number of bracts at flower head base
    30–150
    Ovary cross-section
    the ovary is compressed (flattened)
    Ovary hair type
    • the ovary has hairs on it, but the hairs have no glands
    • the ovary has no hairs on it
    Ovary hairs
    the ovary has hairs on it
    Ovary lines or ribs
    there are two lines or ribs visible on the ovary
    Ovary profile
    • in profile, the ovary is oblong (roughly rectangular but rounded at the ends)
    • in profile, the ovary is roughly egg-shaped, but widest above the middle
    Peduncle hair type
    the hairs on the peduncles have glands at their tips
    Peduncle hairs
    the peduncles are hairy
    Ray flower color
    • blue to purple
    • pink to red
    • white
    Ray flower reproductive parts
    the ray flowers have carpels or stamens, but not both
    Ray flowers
    more than 50
    Ray length
    2.5–7 mm
    Reproductive system
    some of the flowers on the plant have only carpels or stamens, while others have both carpels and stamens
    Smaller bracts at base of bracts
    there is a cycle of much smaller bracts outside the cycle of larger and longer bracts
    Style branch number
    the style has two branches
    Width of flower head base
    8–22 mm
  • Fruits or seeds
    Number of pappus parts
    11 or more
    Ovary length in developed fruit
    1.6–2.5 mm
    Seed hair tuft color
    the pappus hairs are white or off-white
    Seed hair tuft length
    0.2–6 mm
    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
    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 biennial, it appears as either first year (non-reproductive) plants or second year plants with flowers or fruit
    • the plant is perennial, it shows evidence of previous year's leaves, stems or stem bases
    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
    Hairs on upper side of leaf blade
    • the upper side of the leaf is fuzzy or hairy
    • the upper side of the leaf is not hairy, or has very few hairs
    Leaf arrangement
    • alternate: there is one leaf per node along the stem
    • basal: the leaves are growing only at the base of the plant
    Leaf blade base
    the leaf has a distinct petiole
    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 edges
    • the edge of the leaf blade has no teeth or lobes
    • the edge of the leaf blade has teeth
    Leaf blade hairs
    • NA
    • the leaf blade has hairs with glands at their tips
    Leaf blade length
    20–140 mm
    Leaf blade shape
    • the leaf blade is oblanceolate (lance-shaped, but with the widest point above the middle of the leaf blade)
    • the leaf blade is oblong (rectangular but with rounded ends)
    Leaf blade tip
    • the tip of the leaf blade is acute (sharply pointed)
    • the tip of the leaf blade is obtuse (bluntly pointed)
    Leaf blade veins
    the leaf blade has three main veins running from the base towards the tip
    Leaf blade width
    3–18 mm
    Leaf disposition
    • the leaves are nearly similar in size, prominence of teeth, and length of stalks throughout the stem
    • the lower leaves are larger, toothier, and/or on longer stalks than the upper leaves
    Leaf spines
    there are no spines on the leaf edges
    Leaf stalk
    the leaves have leaf stalks
    Leaf tip extension
    NA
    Leaf type
    leaves are simple (i.e., lobed or unlobed but not separated into leaflets)
    Specific leaf type
    the leaves are simple (i.e., lobed or unlobed but not separated into leaflets
  • Place
    Habitat
    • terrestrial
    • wetlands
    New England state
    Maine
    Specific habitat
    • edges of forests
    • forests
    • shores of rivers or lakes
  • Stem, shoot, branch
    Leaves on stem
    there is at least one full leaf above the base of the flowering stem
    Stem internode hair direction
    • the hairs are pressed flat against the plant, pointing either towards the plant's tip or towards it's base
    • the hairs point mostly upwards to outwards
    Stem internode hair type
    the hairs on the stem are plain, without glands or branches, and not tangled
    Stem internode hairs
    • the stem has hairs between the nodes
    • the stem has no hairs between the nodes

Wetland Status

Not classified

New England Distribution and Conservation Status

Distribution

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

Conservation Status

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

ssp. kamtschaticus

Maine
historical (S-rank: SH), potentially extirpated (code: PE)

Native to North America?

Yes

Synonyms

  • Erigeron acris L. var. kamtschaticus (DC.) Herder
  • Erigeron acris L. var. kamtschaticus (DC.) Herder
  • Erigeron angulosus var. kamtschaticus (DC.) Hara
  • Erigeron angulosus var. kamtschaticus (DC.) Hara
  • Erigeron kamtschaticus DC.
  • Erigeron kamtschaticus DC.
  • Trimorpha acris (L.) Nesom var. kamtschatica (DC.) Nesom
  • Trimorpha acris (L.) Nesom var. kamtschatica (DC.) Nesom

Family

Asteraceae

Genus

Erigeron

Notes on Subspecies and Varieties in New England

Our subspecies is Erigeron acris L. ssp. kamtschaticus.

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Information from Dichotomous Key of Flora Novae Angliae

1.  Erigeron acris L. ssp. kamtschaticus (DC.) Hara NC

bitter fleabane. Erigeron acris L. var. kamtschaticus (DC.) Herder; E. angulosus Gaudin var. kamtschaticus (DC.) Hara; E. kamtschaticus DC.; Trimorpha acris (L.) Nesom var. kamtschatica (DC.) Nesom • ME; mainly in northern portion of state. Forest clearings, river banks.