Erigeron Spp.

Subclass: Asteridae
Order: Asterales
Family: Asteraceae
Family Description: Aster (Sunflower)

Key Characteristics:

Blooms in spring; heads almost always radiate (one of our species is not); annual, biennial or perennial herbs with alternate cauline leaves (sometimes all basal); involucral bracts usually in one series, imbricate, chartaceous with green midrib and tip; stylar appendage less than ½ mm stylar appendage usually greater than ½ mm.

  • extremely variable from simple, entire to toothed, to compound may be hairy or glabrous
  • in one or numerous heads with flat or slightly convex disc in our species are mostly with blue, purple, pink, white or rarely yellow,
  • narrow rays closely resemble aster flowers
  • hairy or glabrous achene

General Description:
There are many species of this Aster-like genus. Most are perennials. The flower heads have many ray flowers which can be violet, purple, pinkish, white or blue. There are even some with bright yellow ray flowers. Asters bloom in the fall and have heads with imbricate involucral bracts (phyllaries) subtending the ray flowers. Daisies bloom in the spring and have heads commonly with only one whorl of bracts. One species Erigeron canadensis syn. Conyza canadensis which is a native of North America was introduced into Europe in the 17th Century and became a troublesome weed. Fleabane plants were believed to drive away fleas, thus the common name. The small seeds supposedly looked like fleas. The name Erigeron does not imply medicinal properties but comes from the Greek words eri (=early) and geron (= aged person ) and refers to the "worn-out" appearance of some of the species in the genus. It is still used by herbalists. No reference was found on current uses in America either old or new of this genus. The oils of this genus contain limonene and terpineol as well as tannins and choline. Thus, it has astringent, diuretic and hemostatic affects.

Similar Species:
Aster flowers.


Almost all habitats.

Leaves of some species have been used as a tea to alleviate kidney problems. The whole plants are gathered and dried or sometimes only the fruits are used. The constituents contain a bitter extractive, tannic and gallic acids and a volatile oil. It acts as an astringent, diuretic tonic. It is considered useful in gravel, diabetes, dropsy and many kidney diseases and is also used to alleviate diarrhea and dysentery. The oil of Erigeron resembles oil of Turpentine, but is less irritating. It has been used to stop hemorrhage from the lungs or alimentary tract in the past. It was once also used to alleviate inflamed tonsils and sore throats.

Important State References:
No information available at this time
Photos and Information written by Dr. Karl E. Holte,© 2002