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Erigeron divergens

Erigeron divergens

Erigeron divergens on the Prater Ridge Trail in Mesa Verde National Park, September 9, 2007; at McPhee Campground, September 30, 2014; and on the Boggy Draw Trail, August 16, 2016.

Erigeron divergens
Erigeron divergens (Spreading Daisy)
Asteraceae (Sunflower Family)

Foothills, montane.  Meadows, disturbed areas.  Spring, summer.
Prater Ridge Trail, Mesa Verde National Park, August 13, 2005.

Erigeron divergens is most often an annual but it can be a biennial or short-lived perennial; it can be as short as just 3 inches or ten times that; it can have single or multiple stems; its leaves can range from 10-70 mm long and 4 to 14 mm wide; and the leaf shape varies from obovate to spatulate to oblanceolate to linear, seemingly not considerable variation but when the plant couples the slight variations in leaf shape with the considerable variations in leaf lengths and widths, it often presents a difficult identification.

Erigeron divergens is commonly branched and densely hairy with rather short upper stem leaves which are most often vertical, almost clasping the stem.  The numerous ray flowers of Erigeron divergens are very light lavender, often, as shown at left, almost white. The plant at left is eight inches tall but, as noted above, E. divergens can grow to over two feet tall.  Leaves vary not only in their width and length but also in the the intensity of their green, although most often the leaves are drab green.  Flowers are typically about an inch across and are far more numerous on some plants than on others. 

There were about a dozen plants near each other in the area of the left photo, but as the photograph at the top of the page shows, there can be many dozens near each other.  The plants in the left photograph grow in good soils with good moisture; but the plant can grow in gravels and sand and do well with little moisture.

Thomas Nuttall collected the first specimen of this plant for science in the Rockies, on the 1834 Wyeth Expedition and Torrey and Gray named it in 1841. "Divergens" Is Latin for "spreading". Erigerons are commonly called "Fleabanes" or "Daisies".

Erigeron divergens
Erigeron divergens (Spreading Daisy)
Asteraceae (Sunflower Family)

Foothills, montane.  Meadows, disturbed areas.  Spring, summer.
Highway 145 north of Dolores, August 29, 2006.

Erigeron divergens
Erigeron divergens (Spreading Daisy)
Asteraceae (Sunflower Family)

Foothills, montane.  Meadows, disturbed areas.  Spring, summer.
Highway 145 north of Dolores, August 29, 2006.

Erigeron divergens
Erigeron divergens (Spreading Daisy)
Asteraceae (Sunflower Family)

Foothills, montane.  Meadows, disturbed areas.  Spring, summer.
Boggy Draw Trail, August 16, 2016.

The branching pattern of these two plants and the shape, size, color, venation, hairiness, and texture of the leaves is fairly typical for Erigeron divergens in the Four Corners region.

                          Erigeron divergens

Range map © John Kartesz,
Floristic Synthesis of North America

State Color Key

Species present in state and native
Species present in state and exotic
Species not present in state

County Color Key

Species present and not rare
Species present and rare
Species extirpated (historic)
Species extinct
Species noxious
Species exotic and present
Native species, but adventive in state
Eradicated
Questionable presence

Range map for Erigeron divergens