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    Erigerons, commonly called "Daisies" or "Fleabanes", are a large and complex genus.  This web site shows 25 of the 48 species in the Four Corners area;  there are 130 species in North America and 200 world-wide.

     Erigerons have yellow disk flowers and numerous narrow ray flowers that are white, pink, or purple (but not yellow).  They grow from the semi-desert to the alpine regions and although a few are uncommon, most are very common.

      In 1753 Linnaeus gave the genus its name from the Greek "eri" ("early") + "geron" ("old man", as in "geriatrics", the study of old age processes and problems).  Perhaps the Greek name refers to characteristics of some now unknown plant or perhaps it refers to the early flowering of many species and to the bristly pappus of the developing seed, or perhaps to the puffy, grizzled appearance of the mature seed head.

Erigeron bellidiastrum

Erigeron bellidiastrum

Erigeron bellidiastrum

Erigeron bellidiastrum

Erigeron bellidiastrum (Pretty Daisy)
Asteraceae (Sunflower Family)

Semi-desert, foothills. Shrublands, sand, woodlands. Spring, summer.
Comb Ridge, Utah, May 15, 2013 and near lower Butler Wash, April 20, 2017.

Erigeron bellidiastrum grows from 2-12 inches tall, often branching. Basal leaves are few to none; lower stem leaves have petioles, upper are sessile; stem and leaves are covered with soft, long, inward curved hairs (see the arrow below).

                                     Erigeron bellidiastrum

Early in the growing season, .E. bellidiastrum plants (such as those shown here) look very much like Erigeron divergens, but are distinguished quickly by observing several facts: 1) E. divergens is usually not growing as early as E. bellidiastrum. 2) The hairs on E. divergens are not curved. 3) E. bellidiastrum has 22-70 ray florets; E. divergens has 75-150 and those are narrower and can be longer (4-9.4 millimeters vs. 4-7.5 millimeters).

At maturity E. bellidiastrum is 3.5-30 centimeters tall: E. divergens is 12-40 cm tall. E. bellidiastrum is typically in sands at 4,000' to 5,500'; E. divergens is found in a wide variety of soils from 4,000' to 8,500'.

Famed botanist, explorer, and teacher, Thomas Nuttall, collected this plant near the Platte River in 1834 and named and described it in 1841. "Bellis" means "Daisy" or "pretty" and is also the name of a genus of plants. There are various interpretations of "diastrum" ranging from "star-like" to "poor imitation of".

Erigeron canus
Erigeron canus (Gray Daisy)
Asteraceae (Sunflower Family)

Foothills. Shrublands, meadows. Summer.
Navajo Reservation above Teec Nos Pos, Arizona, June 24, 2006.

Erigeron canus grows from two to twelve inches tall in the foothills and plains.  Flowers are relatively large (to about an inch in diameter) and are white or blue.  In the Four Corners area, the plant occurs throughout northeast Arizona and northwest New Mexico, and it has recently been found in Montezuma County in the very southwest corner of Colorado.  

Asa Gray named this plant in 1849 from a specimen collected by Augustus Fendler near Santa Fe, New Mexico in 1846.  "Canus" is Latin for "gray".

Erigeron canus
Erigeron canus (Gray Daisy)
Asteraceae (Sunflower Family)

Foothills. Shrublands, meadows. Summer.
Navajo Reservation above Teec Nos Pos, Arizona, June 24, 2006.

Range maps © 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

Erigeron bellidiastrum

Range map for Erigeron bellidiastrum

Range map for Erigeron canus