(Erigeron annus) Thistle family

Flower-heads - Numerous, daisy-like, about 1/2 in. across; from

40 to 70 long, fine, white rays (or purple- or pink-tinged),

arranged around yellow disk florets in a rough, hemispheric cup

whose bracts overlap. Stem: Erect, to 4 ft. high, branching

above, with spreading, rough hairs. Leaves: Thin, lower ones

ovate, coarsely toothed, petioled; upper ones sessile, becoming

smaller, lance-shaped.

Preferred Habitat: Fields, wasteland, roadsides.

Flowering Season: May-November.

Distribution: Nova Scotia to Virginia, westward to Missouri.

At a glance one knows this flower to be akin to Robin's plantain

(q.v.) the the asters and daisy. A smaller, more delicate

species, with mostly entire leaves and appressed hairs (E.

ramosus; E. strigosum of Gray) has a similar range and season of

bloom. Both soon grow hoary-headed after they have been

fertilized by countless insects crawling over them (Erigeron =

early old). That either of these plants, or the pinkish,

small-flowered, strong-scented SALT-MARSH FLEABANE (Pluchea

camphorata), drive away fleas, is believed only by those who have

not used them dried, reduced to powder, and sprinkled in kennels,

from which, however, they have been known to drive away dogs.


(Baccharis halimifolia) Thistle family

Flower-heads: White or yellowish tubular florets, 1 to 5 in

peduncled clusters. Staminate and pistillate clusters on

different shrubs; the former almost round at first, the latter

conspicuous only when seeding; then their pappus is white, and

about 1/3 in. long. Stem: A smooth, branching shrub, 3 to 10 ft.

high. Leaves: Thick, lower ones ovate to wedge-shaped, coarsely

angular-toothed; upper ones smaller, few-toothed or entire.

Preferred Habitat: Salt marshes, tidewater streams, often far

from the coast.

Flowering Season: September-November

Distribution: The Atlantic and Gulf coasts from Maine to Texas.

When the little bright white, silky cockades, clustered at the

ends of the branches, appear on a female groundsel-bush in

autumn, our eyes are attracted to the shrub for the first time.

But had not small pollen carriers discovered it weeks before, the

scaly, glutinous cups would hold no charming, plumed seeds ready

to ride on autumn gales. Self-fertilization has been guarded

against by precarious means, but the safest of all devices -

separation of the sexes on distinct plants. These are absolutely

dependent, of course, on insect messengers - not visitors merely.

Bees, which always show less inclination to dally from one

species of flower to another than any other guests, and more

intelligent directness of purpose when out for business are the

groundsel-bush's truest benefactors. This is the only shrub among

the multitudinous composite clan that most of us are ever likely

to see.


DAISY DAISYLEAVED FLEABANE DEPTFORD PINK facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail