(Erigeron pulchellus; E. bellifolium of Gray) Thistle family

Flower-heads - Composite, daisy-like, 1 to 1/2 in. across; the

outer circle of about 50 pale bluish-violet ray florets; the disk

florets greenish yellow. Stem: Simple, erect, hairy, juicy,

flexible, from 10 in. to 2 ft. high, producing runners and

offsets from base. Leaves: Spatulate, in a flat tuft about the

root; stem leaves narrow, more acute, seated, or partly clasping.

Preferred Habitat - Moist ground, hills, banks, grassy fields.

Flowering Season - April-June.

Distribution - United States and Canada, east of the Mississippi.

Like an aster blooming long before its season, Robin's plantain

wears a finely cut lavender fringe around a yellow disk of minute

florets; but one of the first, not the last, in the long

procession of composites has appeared when we see gay companies

of these flowers nodding their heads above the grass in the

spring breezes as if they were village gossips.

Doubtless it was the necessity for attracting insects which led

the Robin's plantain and other composites to group a quantity of

minute florets, each one of which was once an independent,

detached blossom, into a common head. In union there is strength.

Each floret still contains, however, its own tiny drop of nectar,

its own stamens, its own pistil connected with embryonic seed

below; therefore, when an insect alights where he can get the

greatest amount of nectar for the least effort, and turns round

and round to exhaust each nectary, he is sure to dust the pistils

with pollen, and so fertilize an entire flower-head in a trice.

The lavender fringe and the hairy involucre and stem serve the

end of discouraging crawling insects, which cannot transfer

pollen from plant to plant, from pilfering sweets that cannot be

properly paid for. Small wonder that, although the composites

have attained to their socialistic practices at a comparatively

recent day as evolutionists count time, they have become as

individuals and as species the most numerous in the world; the

thistle family, dominant everywhere, containing not less than ten

thousand members.


a smaller edition of Robin's plantain, with a more findely cut

fringe, its reddish-purple ray florets often numbering one

hundred and fifty, may be found in low fields and woods

throughout North America, except in the circumpolar regions.

CUPPLANT INDIANCUP RAGGED CUP ROSINPLANT DAISY FLEABANE SWEET SCABIOUS facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail