Erigeron pulchellus Michx.

Robin's plantain 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

The Cherokee and Iroquois used Erigeron pulchellus medicinally to treat colds and coughs.

Habitat

Anthropogenic (man-made or disturbed habitats), meadows and fields

Characteristics

Habitat
terrestrial
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 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
20–180 mm
Show All Characteristics
  • Flowers
    Bases of bract appendages
    NA
    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 texture
    the bracts have a similar texture to a leaf
    Disk flower color
    yellow
    Disk flower lobe number
    5
    Disk flower reproductive parts
    the disk flower has both pollen- and seed-producing parts
    Disk width
    10–20 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, each flower has a single enlarged lobe or strap
    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 type in flower heads
    the flower head has tubular disk flowers in the center and ray flowers, these often strap-shaped, around the periphery
    Height of flower head base
    5–7 mm
    Inflorescence branching (Solidago)
    NA
    Inflorescence shape
    the inflorescence is flat-topped in profile
    Ovary cross-section
    the ovary is compressed (flattened)
    Ovary hair type
    the ovary has no hairs on it
    Ovary hairs
    the ovary has no hairs on it
    Ovary lines or ribs
    • there are four to six lines or ribs visible on the ovary
    • there are three lines or ribs visible on the ovary
    • there are two lines or ribs visible on the ovary
    Ovary profile
    in profile, the ovary is lanceolate (widest below the middle, tapering to both ends)
    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
    6–10 mm
    Reproductive system
    some of the flowers on the plant have only carpels or stamens, while others have both carpels and stamens
    Scale tip
    NA
    Width of flower head base
    6–20 mm
  • Fruits or seeds
    Number of pappus parts
    11 or more
    Ovary length in developed fruit
    1.3–1.8 mm
    Seed hair tuft color
    the pappus hairs are tan to dark brown
    Seed hair tuft details
    the pappus hairs are hooked or barbed
    Seed hair tuft length
    4–5 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
    Horizontal rooting stem
    there are stolons on some plants
    Plant lifespan
    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
    • the plant has a caudex (the root mass is firm and hardened at the top)
    • the plant has a rhizome (a horizontal underground stem with roots growing from it)
  • Leaves
    Final leaf segment length (compound lvs only)
    0 mm
    Final leaf segment width (compound lvs only)
    0 mm
    Hairs on underside of leaf blade
    the underside of the leaf is fuzzy or hairy
    Hairs on upper side of leaf blade
    the upper side of the leaf is fuzzy or hairy
    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 no teeth or lobes
    • the edge of the leaf blade has teeth
    Leaf blade hairs
    the leaf blade has simple hairs with no glands, and not tangled or wooly
    Leaf blade length
    20–180 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 obovate (egg-shaped, but with the widest point above the middle of the leaf blade)
    • the leaf blade is spatulate (spoon-shaped; narrow near the base, then suddenly widening to a rounded tip)
    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 obtuse (bluntly pointed)
    Leaf blade width
    6–50 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 no leaf stalks, but attach directly to the stem
    Leaf stalk length
    0 mm
    Leaf type
    leaves are simple (i.e., lobed or unlobed but not separated into leaflets)
    Leaflet number
    0
    Specific leaf type
    the leaves are simple (i.e., lobed or unlobed but not separated into leaflets
  • Place
    Habitat
    terrestrial
    New England state
    • Connecticut
    • Maine
    • Massachusetts
    • New Hampshire
    • Rhode Island
    • Vermont
    Specific habitat
    • man-made or disturbed habitats
    • meadows or fields
  • 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 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
    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.

Massachusetts
unranked (S-rank: SNR)

var. pulchellus

Massachusetts
widespread (S-rank: S5)

Native to North America?

Yes

Sometimes Confused With

Erigeron philadelphicus:
flowering plants with mostly 3-30 flower heads, each flower head with 150-400 ray flowers with a ray up to 0.5 mm wide (vs. E. pulchellus, with flowering plants with mostly 1-4 flower heads, each flower head with 50-100 ray flowers with a ray 0.8-1.7 mm wide).

Family

Asteraceae

Genus

Erigeron

Notes on Subspecies and Varieties in New England

Our variety is Erigeron pulchellus Michx. var. pulchellus.

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Information from Dichotomous Key of Flora Novae Angliae

6.  Erigeron pulchellus Michx. var. pulchellus N

Robin’s plantain fleabane. CT, MA, ME, NH, RI, VT. Fields, roadsides, lawns, clearings.