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Published In: Species Plantarum 2: 863. 1753. (1 May 1753) (Sp. Pl.) Name publication detailView in BotanicusView in Biodiversity Heritage Library

Project Name Data (Last Modified On 8/11/2017)
Acceptance : Accepted
Project Data     (Last Modified On 7/9/2009)
Status: Native


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2. Erigeron philadelphicus L. (Philadelphia fleabane)

Pl. 233 a–c; Map 972

Plants biennial or perennial (often relatively short-lived) herbs, with fibrous roots, occasionally producing short offsets at the end of the growing season, but not producing rhizomes or stolons. Stems 1 to several, 20–80(–150) cm long, usually sparsely to moderately branched above the lower 1/3, sparsely to moderately pubescent with mostly spreading hairs (the hairs sometimes more appressed toward the tip). Basal leaves sometimes withered by flowering time, 2–15 cm long, sessile to short-petiolate, the blade narrowly oblanceolate to oblanceolate or less commonly obovate, mostly long-tapered at the base, mostly rounded at the tip, the margins coarsely and bluntly to sharply toothed or scalloped, rarely shallowly pinnately lobed, the surfaces and margins sparsely to moderately pubescent with short to long, spreading or loosely appressed hairs. Stem leaves usually relatively numerous, 1–10 cm long, sessile, the blade oblanceolate to elliptic or lanceolate (the lower leaves rarely obovate), angled or tapered to a usually sharply pointed tip, rounded to shallowly cordate at the base and more or less clasping the stem, the margins entire, scalloped, or with few to several sharp teeth on each side, these sometimes produced only from above the midpoint, the surfaces and margins sparsely to more commonly moderately hairy. Inflorescences rounded to more or less flat-topped panicles, usually open and often with numerous heads. Involucre 4–6 mm long, the receptacle 6–15 mm in diameter at flowering, the bracts glabrous or more commonly sparsely to moderately pubescent with more or less spreading hairs and sometimes also minutely glandular. Ray florets 120–400, the corolla 5–10 mm long. Disc florets with the corolla 2.5–3.5 mm long. Pappus of the ray and disc florets similar, both with an inner series of (15–)20–30 threadlike bristles 1.2–3.2 mm long and an outer series of usually several shorter bristles or slender scales 0.1–0.4 mm long. Fruits 0.6–1.2 mm long, sparsely and inconspicuously hairy. 2n=18. April–June.

Scattered to common nearly throughout the state, but uncommon or apparently absent from western portions of the Ozark Division (U.S., Canada; introduced in Europe). Banks of streams and rivers, margins of ponds and lakes, bottomland forests, mesic upland forests, savannas, upland prairies, sand prairies, and ledges and tops of bluffs; also pastures, old fields, fallow fields, gardens, cemeteries, railroads, roadsides, and open, disturbed areas.

Some botanists have attempted to subdivide E. philadelphicus by recognizing morphological extremes, but none of the segregates in this very variable species seems worthy of formal taxonomic recognition, and none of them appears to occur in the wild in Missouri. For example, plants with the stem leaves glabrous or nearly so have been called var. glaber J.K. Henry and var. provancheri (Vict. & J. Rousseau) B. Boivin, whereas robust plants with relatively large, slightly succulent leaves (similar to plants that grow under some garden situations) have been called var. scaturicola (Fernald) Fernald (the oldest epithet for this taxon is actually var. acaulescens, but Lunell’s name was never formally transferred to E. philadelphicus). Cronquist (1947c) attributed such unusual morphologies to extreme environmental conditions, such as abundant moisture and nutrient-rich soils or dry, rocky habitats. Morton (1988) made a somewhat stronger case for the recognition of var. provancheri by studying plants grown in the greenhouse, but this accounted only for a few populations in the northeastern United States and Canada.

Native Americans used this species medicinally as a cold remedy, analgesic, antidiarrheal agent, and a poultice for sores, and to reduce excessive bleeding following childbirth (Moerman, 1998).



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