Parthenium integrifolium L.

wild feverfew

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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

Wild feverfew is native to North America, but adventive in New England, perhaps because the species is sometimes grown in wildflower and medicinal herb gardens. Wild feverfew was used as an alternate malaria remedy during World War I, when the supply of Cinchona bark (quinine) was disrupted. It has many other uses in traditional medicine.

Habitat

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

Characteristics

Habitat
terrestrial
New England state
  • Connecticut
  • Massachusetts
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 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 tubular disk flowers in the center and ray flowers, these often strap-shaped, around the periphery
Ray flower color
white
Tuft or plume on fruit
there is no plume, or the plume is made up of scales, awns, a crown, or a rim
Spines on plant
the plant has no spines
Leaf blade length
At least 30 mm
Disk flower number
  • 11-20
  • 21-50
Show All Characteristics
  • Flowers
    Bract cycle number
    there are two main cycles of bracts
    Bract outer side hair type
    • the bracts are hairy, with simple hairs on their outer surface
    • the bracts are not hairy on their outer surface
    Bract outer side hairs
    • the bracts are hairy on their outer surfaces
    • the bracts are not hairy on their outer surfaces
    Bract separation
    the bracts appear completely unconnected to one another on all flower heads
    Bract shape
    • the main bracts are lanceolate (widest above the base, then taper narrowly towards the tip)
    • the main bracts are orbicular (roughly circular)
    • the main bracts are ovate (egg-shaped)
    Bract texture
    • the bracts appear thin, flexible and nearly translucent
    • the bracts have a similar texture to a leaf
    Disk flower color
    • white
    • yellow
    Disk flower lobe number
    5
    Disk flower number
    • 11-20
    • 21-50
    Disk flower reproductive 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
    4–7 mm
    Flower head number
    each flowering stem has four or more 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 papery scales on it
    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)
    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
    4–6 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
    Number of bracts at flower head base
    10–12
    Ovary cross-section
    • the ovary has five or more corners in cross-section
    • the ovary is compressed (flattened)
    Ovary hair type
    the ovary has hairs on it, but the hairs have no glands
    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 roughly egg-shaped, but widest above the middle
    Peduncle length
    1–12 mm
    Ray flower color
    white
    Ray flower reproductive parts
    the ray flowers have carpels or stamens, but not both
    Ray flowers
    • 1-5
    • 6-10
    Ray length
    1–2 mm
    Reproductive system
    all the flowers on the plant contain both carpels and stamens
    Style branch number
    the style has one branch
    Width of flower head base
    5–8 mm
  • Fruits or seeds
    Dispersal unit
    the seeds fall off or are dispersed separately from one another
    Number of pappus parts
    • 0
    • 4
    Ovary length in developed fruit
    3–4 mm
    Seed hair tuft length
    0.3–0.6 mm
    Seed hair tuft tips
    the pappus hairs are slender
    Seed tuft scale number
    0–4
    Seed tuft type
    the pappus is made of flat scales that are not split or frayed at the tips
    Top of disk flower ovary
    NA
    Tuft or plume on fruit
    there is no plume, or the plume is made up of scales, awns, a crown, or a rim
  • 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 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 one or more swollen storage organs underground, such as bulbs, tubers or corms
  • Leaves
    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
    • basal: the leaves are growing only at the base of the plant
    Leaf blade base
    • the leaf has a distinct petiole
    • the leaf has no 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 lobes, or it has both teeth and 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
    At least 30 mm
    Leaf blade shape
    • the leaf blade is lanceolate (lance-shaped; widest below the middle and tapering at both ends)
    • the leaf blade is ovate (widest below the middle and broadly tapering at both ends)
    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
    10–120 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 stalk
    • the leaves have leaf stalks
    • the leaves have no leaf stalks, but attach directly to the stem
    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
    • Massachusetts
    Specific habitat
    • man-made or disturbed habitats
    • meadows or fields
  • 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
    • NA
    • the hairs are pressed flat against the plant, pointing either towards the plant's tip or towards it's base
    Stem internode hair type
    • NA
    • 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
    Stem wings
    the stem does not have wings on it

Wetland Status

Not classified

New England Distribution and Conservation Status

Distribution

Connecticut
present
Maine
absent
Massachusetts
present
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.

Massachusetts
unranked (S-rank: SNR)

var. integrifolium

Massachusetts
unranked (S-rank: SNR)

Native to North America?

Yes and no (some introduced)

Sometimes Confused With

Parthenium hysterophorus

Family

Asteraceae

Genus

Parthenium

Notes on Subspecies and Varieties in New England

Our variety is Parthenium integrifolium L. var. integrifolium.

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Information from Dichotomous Key of Flora Novae Angliae

2.  Parthenium integrifolium L. var. integrifolium E

wild feverfew. CT, MA. Fields, areas of cultivation, railroads.