April 23, 2017

Pretty Enough to Ward Off Fleas?

Barbara Lyon Photo |  Erigeron speciosus - Aspen fleabane

Barbara Lyon Photo | Erigeron speciosus – Aspen fleabane

Translating botanical and common names often explains much about a plant. Erigeron speciosus is no different. Aspen fleabane is a perennial native to the western United States. The “speciosus” means pretty while the fleabane means that the plant is thought to repel fleas. (Interestingly, the name Erigeron translates from the Greek to mean “early old man” in reference to the white hairs of the fruit which develops rapidly after the plant flowers.) Aspen fleabane can reach up to 2 feet in height, with a stem ending in a single flowerhead. Like most in the aster family, the flowers are actually contained in the yellow-orange disk in the center of the blue rays. The plant will form colonies over time and can be divided when the rosettes start to crowd each other. Photographed by Barbara Lyon in Idaho, this specimen was on “our local branch of the Oregon trail, fresh after a rain,” she said.

Submitted by Barbara Lyon

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