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Small Fleabane

Pulicaria vulgaris

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Asteraceae (Daisy)
Also in this family:
Alpine Blue Sow-thistle, Alpine Cotula, Alpine Fleabane, Alpine Saw-wort, Annual Ragweed, Annual Sunflower, Argentine Fleabane, Autumn Hawkbit, Autumn Oxeye, Beaked Hawksbeard, Beggarticks, Bilbao Fleabane, Black Knapweed, Black-eyed Susan, Blanketflower, Blue Fleabane, Blue Globe-thistle, Bristly Oxtongue, Broad-leaved Cudweed, Broad-leaved Ragwort, Brown Knapweed, Butterbur, Buttonweed, Cabbage Thistle, Canadian Fleabane, Canadian Goldenrod, Carline Thistle, Chalk Knapweed, Chamois Ragwort, Changing Michaelmas Daisy, Chicory, Chinese Mugwort, Chinese Ragwort, Coltsfoot, Common Blue Sow-thistle, Common Cat's-ear, Common Cudweed, Common Daisy, Common Dandelion, Common Fleabane, Common Goldenrod, Common Groundsel, Common Michaelmas Daisy, Common Mugwort, Common Ragwort, Common Wormwood, Coneflower, Confused Michaelmas Daisy, Corn Chamomile, Corn Marigold, Cornflower, Cotton Thistle, Cottonweed, Creeping Thistle, Daisy Bush, Dwarf Cudweed, Dwarf Thistle, Early Goldenrod, Eastern Groundsel, Eastern Leopardsbane, Elecampane, English Hawkweed, Fen Ragwort, Feverfew, Field Fleawort, Field Wormwood, Fox and Cubs, French Tarragon, Gallant Soldier, Garden Lettuce, Giant Butterbur, Glabrous-headed Hawkweed, Glandular Globe-thistle, Glaucous Michaelmas Daisy, Globe Artichoke, Globe-thistle, Goat's Beard, Golden Ragwort, Golden Samphire, Goldilocks Aster, Grass-leaved Goldenrod, Great Lettuce, Greater Burdock, Greater Knapweed, Grey-headed Hawkweed, Guernsey Fleabane, Hairless Blue Sow-thistle, Hairless Leptinella, Hairy Michaelmas Daisy, Harpur Crewe's Leopardsbane, Hawkweed Oxtongue, Heath Cudweed, Heath Groundsel, Hemp Agrimony, Highland Cudweed, Hoary Mugwort, Hoary Ragwort, Hybrid Knapweed, Intermediate Burdock, Irish Fleabane, Jersey Cudweed, Jerusalem Artichoke, Lance-leaved Hawkweed, Lavender-cotton, Leafless Hawksbeard, Least Lettuce, Leopardplant, Leopardsbane, Leptinella, Lesser Burdock, Lesser Hawkbit, Lesser Sunflower, London Bur-marigold, Magellan Ragwort, Marsh Cudweed, Marsh Hawksbeard, Marsh Ragwort, Marsh Sow-thistle, Marsh Thistle, Meadow Thistle, Melancholy Thistle, Mexican Fleabane, Milk Thistle, Mountain Everlasting, Mouse-ear Hawkweed, Musk Thistle, Narrow-leaved Cudweed, Narrow-leaved Hawkweed, Narrow-leaved Michaelmas Daisy, Narrow-leaved Ragwort, New England Hawkweed, New Zealand Holly, Nipplewort, Nodding Bur-marigold, Northern Hawksbeard, Norwegian Mugwort, Oxeye Daisy, Oxford Ragwort, Pearly Everlasting, Perennial Cornflower, Perennial Ragweed, Perennial Sow-thistle, Perennial Sunflower, Pineapple Mayweed, Plantain-leaved Leopardsbane, Ploughman's Spikenard, Plymouth Thistle, Pontic Blue Sow-thistle, Pot Marigold, Prickly Lettuce, Prickly Sow-thistle, Purple Coltsfoot, Rayed Tansy, Red Star Thistle, Red-seeded Dandelion, Red-tipped Cudweed, Robin's Plantain, Roman Chamomile, Rough Cocklebur, Rough Hawkbit, Rough Hawksbeard, Russian Lettuce, Safflower, Salsify, Saw-wort, Scented Mayweed, Scentless Mayweed, Sea Aster, Sea Mayweed, Sea Wormwood, Seaside Daisy, Shaggy Mouse-ear Hawkweed, Shaggy Soldier, Shasta Daisy, Shetland Mouse-ear Hawkweed, Shrub Ragwort, Sicilian Chamomile, Silver Ragwort, Slender Mugwort, Slender Thistle, Small Cudweed, Smooth Cat's-ear, Smooth Hawksbeard, Smooth Sow-thistle, Sneezeweed, Sneezewort, Spear Thistle, Spotted Cat's-ear, Spotted Hawkweed, Sticky Groundsel, Stinking Chamomile, Stinking Hawksbeard, Tall Fleabane, Tall Mouse-ear Hawkweed, Tansy, Thin-leaved Sunflower, Treasureflower, Trifid Bur-marigold, Tuberous Thistle, Tyneside Leopardplant, Viper's Grass, Wall Lettuce, Welsh Groundsel, Welted Thistle, White African Daisy, White Butterbur, White Buttons, Willdenow's Leopardsbane, Winter Heliotrope, Wood Burdock, Wood Ragwort, Woody Fleabane, Woolly Thistle, Yarrow, Yellow Chamomile, Yellow Fox and Cubs, Yellow Oxeye, Yellow Star Thistle, Yellow Thistle, York Groundsel
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
60 centimetres tall
Grassland, waterside, woodland.

Yellow, many petals
Small, dull yellow, daisy-like flowers. The petals are erect. Petals measure between 6 and 12mm long.
The fruit is an achene.
Narrow, lance-shaped leaves that have a wavy edge. The leaves are stalkless and alternate up the stem. Sometimes the leaves are toothed.
Other Names:
Common Fleabane, Lesser Fleabane, Small-flowered Fleabane, Yellow Fleabane.
Frequency (UK):
Rarely seen  

Other Information


Pulicaria vulgaris, also known as common fleabane or yellow fleabane, is a species of wildflower in the daisy family (Asteraceae). It is native to Europe and Asia, and has been introduced to North America.

Pulicaria vulgaris is a perennial herb that grows to about 2 feet tall, with a hairy stem and hairy leaves that are alternate and lance-shaped. The plant produces small, yellow composite flowerheads that bloom from summer to fall. The flowers are typically 1/2-1 inch in diameter and are followed by small achenes (fruits) that are equipped with fluffy bristles to help disperse them by wind.

This plant prefers to grow in damp or wet soil, and it can be found growing in damp meadows, along streambanks, and in other moist habitats. It can tolerate partial shade and can also be found along the edge of woods or in damp fields or roadside ditches. It can become invasive in areas where it is not native.

Pulicaria vulgaris is propagated by seed, and can be grown in most soils, in full sun or partial shade. It is hardy to USDA zones 3-8, and it is considered invasive in some regions and not recommended to be planted. It is not known to have any specific medicinal properties and it is considered safe to grow and handle.


Small Fleabane, or Pulicaria vulgaris, is a small, daisy-like flowering plant that belongs to the Asteraceae family. It is native to Europe and western Asia and has since been introduced to other parts of the world, including North America.

Small Fleabane grows in a variety of habitats, including grasslands, meadows, pastures, and roadsides. It is a perennial plant that grows up to 60 cm tall and has a woody stem at the base. Its leaves are dark green and slightly hairy, while its flowers are yellow and about 1 cm in diameter.

Small Fleabane gets its name from its use as a traditional flea repellent. In the past, people would scatter the plant in their homes to ward off fleas and other insects. The plant's pungent smell is believed to be the reason behind its flea-repelling properties.

Apart from its use as a natural insect repellent, Small Fleabane has several other traditional medicinal uses. It was believed to be effective in treating coughs, colds, and chest congestion, and was also used as a diuretic and a digestive aid. In traditional medicine, it was also used to treat various skin conditions and wounds.

In recent years, Small Fleabane has been the subject of scientific research due to its potential health benefits. Studies have shown that the plant contains compounds with anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anticancer properties. It has also been found to have antibacterial and antifungal properties, making it a promising natural alternative to conventional antibiotics.

Small Fleabane can be consumed as a tea or a tincture, and its leaves and flowers can also be used in topical treatments. However, it is important to note that the plant can cause allergic reactions in some people, and excessive consumption may be toxic.

Small Fleabane is also an important plant for wildlife. Its flowers attract a variety of pollinators, including bees, butterflies, and hoverflies. The plant's seeds are also an important source of food for birds and small mammals.

Small Fleabane has also been used in traditional agriculture as a companion plant to help control pests and improve soil quality. Its strong smell is believed to help repel insects, and its deep roots are known to improve soil structure and nutrient retention.

In addition to its practical uses, Small Fleabane has also been celebrated in folklore and literature. In Celtic mythology, the plant was associated with the goddess Brigid and was believed to have protective properties. In the poem "To a Mountain Daisy" by Robert Burns, the poet compares the resilience and beauty of the daisy to that of a "wee, modest, crimson-tipped flower" - possibly a reference to Small Fleabane.

Small Fleabane is also an easy-to-grow plant that is suitable for a range of growing conditions. It prefers full sun or partial shade and well-drained soil, but can also tolerate damp or heavy soils. It is a hardy plant that can withstand cold temperatures and even light frost.

If you're interested in growing Small Fleabane in your garden, it can be propagated by seed or by dividing the plant in spring or autumn. Once established, it requires very little maintenance and can be left to naturalize in the garden.

In terms of conservation, Small Fleabane is not considered a threatened species, but it is still important to protect and preserve its natural habitats. In some areas, the plant is considered an invasive species, so it's important to be mindful of its potential to spread and to take steps to control its growth if necessary.

Small Fleabane is a great addition to a garden, not only for its practical uses, but also for its aesthetic value. The plant has a delicate beauty that can add a charming, natural element to any garden or landscape. Its yellow daisy-like flowers provide a bright splash of color that can be especially striking when planted en masse.

Small Fleabane can also be a useful addition to a vegetable garden. As a companion plant, it can help to repel insect pests and improve soil quality, which can lead to healthier and more productive vegetable plants.

In terms of harvesting, the leaves and flowers of Small Fleabane can be collected and used fresh or dried for medicinal purposes. To dry the plant, simply hang it upside down in a cool, dry place until it is fully dried. Once dried, the leaves and flowers can be stored in a cool, dark place in an airtight container.

As with any medicinal herb, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional before using Small Fleabane as a treatment for any health condition. While it has a long history of traditional use, scientific research on its efficacy and safety is still limited.

Overall, Small Fleabane is a valuable plant that has a lot to offer, both practically and aesthetically. Whether you're interested in using it for its medicinal properties, in a garden or landscape design, or simply for its natural beauty, it is definitely worth considering as part of your next project or exploration.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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