DAISY FLEABANE SWEET SCABIOUS
(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,
above, with spreading, rough hairs. Leaves: Thin, lower ones
ovate, coarsely toothed, petioled; upper ones sessile, becoming
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.
GROUNDSEL-BUSH or -TREE; PENCIL-TREE
(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
PEARLY or LARGE-FLOWERED EVERLASTING; IMMORTELLE; SILVER LEAF;
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