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Tall Fleabane

Erigeron annuus

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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, Small Fleabane, 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 Mouse-ear Hawkweed, Tansy, Thin-leaved Sunflower, Trifid Bur-marigold, Tuberous Thistle, Tyneside Leopardplant, Viper's Grass, Wall Lettuce, Welsh Groundsel, Welted Thistle, 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:
180 centimetres tall
Fields, gardens, meadows, roadsides, sand dunes, seaside, walls, wasteland.

White, many petals
White to light lavender-coloured flowers with yellow centres. The flowers are daisy-like with numerous, thread-like ray florets.
A brown, seed-like fruit, less than 1mm in length.
A short-lived perennial with green, lance-shaped leaves. The leaves do not clasp the stems. The basal leaves are coarsely toothed. The upper leaves are only sometimes toothed. Often found growing in gardens at the base of walls.
Other Names:
Annual Fleabane, Daisy Fleabane, Eastern Daisy Fleabane, Horseweed, Sweet Scabious.
Frequency (UK):
Rarely seen  

Similar Species

Other Information


Erigeron annuus, also known as annual fleabane or daisy fleabane, is a species of wildflower in the daisy family (Asteraceae). It is native to North America, and is found in many parts of the United States and Canada, particularly in the central and eastern regions.

Erigeron annuus is an annual herb that grows to about 6-18 inches tall, with a hairy stem and hairy leaves that are alternate and lance-shaped. The plant produces a profusion of small, daisy-like flowers with white or pink rays and yellow centers, that bloom from early spring to fall. The flowers are typically 1/2-1 inch in diameter and are followed by small, flattened achenes (fruits) that are equipped with fluffy bristles to help disperse them by wind.

This plant is adaptable to a wide range of soils and can grow in sandy, rocky, or gravelly soils, it also prefers full sun but can tolerate some shade. It can grow in a variety of habitats, including roadsides, fields, and disturbed areas, as well as gardens, meadows and wildflower gardens. It's also a good choice for naturalistic plantings, it is drought tolerant and can grow in a wide range of climates.

Erigeron annuus is propagated by seed, it can be sown in the fall or spring, and it is considered easy to grow from seed. It's hardy to USDA zones 4-8 and it is not considered invasive. The plant is not known to have any specific medicinal properties and it is considered safe to grow and handle.


Tall fleabane, scientifically known as Erigeron annuus, is a common wildflower that belongs to the aster family, Asteraceae. It is also commonly known as daisy fleabane, sweet scabious, and horseweed. It is a native species of North America and can be found growing in many parts of the United States, Canada, and Mexico.

Appearance and Characteristics

Tall fleabane is a herbaceous perennial plant that can grow up to six feet tall. The stem is green and hairy, and it branches out at the top. The leaves are alternate, simple, and lance-shaped, with serrated edges. The flowers are small and daisy-like, with a yellow center surrounded by white petals. They bloom from May to September and are a great source of nectar for bees and butterflies.

Habitat and Range

Tall fleabane is a common wildflower that grows in fields, meadows, roadsides, and disturbed areas. It prefers full sun to partial shade and moist, well-drained soil. It can be found growing in most of the United States, Canada, and Mexico.

Uses and Benefits

Tall fleabane has several traditional medicinal uses. It is said to have diuretic properties and has been used to treat urinary tract infections and kidney problems. It has also been used to treat respiratory ailments such as bronchitis and asthma.

Tall fleabane is also used as an ornamental plant. It is a great addition to a wildflower garden or meadow, and its nectar-rich flowers attract pollinators such as bees and butterflies.

In addition, tall fleabane is an important ecological resource. It is a host plant for the larvae of several butterfly species, including the painted lady and American lady butterflies. These butterflies lay their eggs on the leaves of the plant, and the larvae feed on the leaves before pupating and emerging as adult butterflies.

Conservation Status

Tall fleabane is not considered endangered or threatened. It is a common wildflower that grows in many parts of North America. However, like many wildflowers, it is susceptible to habitat loss due to development and other human activities. Therefore, it is important to protect natural areas where this plant grows and to avoid disturbing its habitat.

Ecological Importance

Tall fleabane is an important ecological resource as it provides habitat and food for several species of insects and birds. The nectar-rich flowers attract a wide variety of pollinators, including bees, butterflies, and moths. The leaves of the plant are a food source for the larvae of several butterfly species, as well as for some moth species.

In addition, the plant's seeds provide food for many bird species, including finches, sparrows, and towhees. The seeds are small and lightweight, making them easy for birds to eat and disperse.

Cultural Significance

Tall fleabane has been used for centuries by Indigenous peoples for various medicinal purposes. For example, the Navajo used a decoction of the plant to treat diarrhea and the Pawnee used it to treat stomach aches. The plant was also used by the Chippewa to make a tea that was said to be beneficial for colds and coughs.

In modern times, tall fleabane is still used as an herbal remedy for various ailments. It is commonly used to treat respiratory problems, such as coughs, bronchitis, and asthma, and it is also used as a diuretic to help flush out the kidneys.

Gardening Tips

Tall fleabane is a great addition to any wildflower garden or meadow. It is easy to grow and requires little maintenance. Here are some tips for growing tall fleabane:

  • Plant the seeds in the fall or early spring in a location that receives full sun to partial shade.
  • Make sure the soil is well-draining and moist.
  • Water the plant regularly, especially during periods of drought.
  • Deadhead the flowers regularly to encourage more blooms.
  • Cut the plant back in the fall after it has finished flowering.

Tall fleabane is a beautiful and beneficial plant that is worth considering for any wildflower garden or meadow. It is easy to grow, attracts pollinators, and provides food and habitat for several species of insects and birds.

Facts about Tall Fleabane

Here are some more interesting facts about tall fleabane:

  • Tall fleabane has a long history of use in traditional medicine. It was commonly used by Native American tribes to treat a wide range of ailments, from stomachaches and coughs to rheumatism and skin irritations. The plant was also used by early European settlers in North America for its medicinal properties.

  • The common name "fleabane" refers to the plant's historic use as a natural insect repellent. The plant was believed to repel fleas, and it was often hung in homes to deter these pests. However, there is little scientific evidence to support this claim.

  • Tall fleabane is sometimes confused with another plant called Canadian fleabane (Conyza canadensis). Both plants have similar flowers and can grow to be quite tall. However, Canadian fleabane has narrower leaves and a more branching stem than tall fleabane.

  • Tall fleabane is a prolific seed producer. Each plant can produce up to 3000 seeds, which can be dispersed by wind and birds. The seeds can remain viable in the soil for many years, which can make it difficult to control the spread of the plant in some areas.

  • The plant is also known for its allelopathic properties. Allelopathy is the ability of some plants to release chemicals that inhibit the growth of other nearby plants. Tall fleabane is known to produce chemicals that can inhibit the growth of certain grass species.

  • In addition to its medicinal properties, tall fleabane has been used for various other purposes throughout history. For example, the plant was once used to make a yellow dye, and the roots were sometimes used as a substitute for coffee. The plant was also used by some Native American tribes in ceremonies and as a smoking herb.

Overall, tall fleabane is a fascinating and versatile plant with a rich history of use and cultural significance. Whether you're interested in growing it in your garden or learning more about its ecological and medicinal properties, there's no shortage of interesting things to discover about this remarkable wildflower.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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