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Project Name Data (Last Modified On 7/9/2009)
Acceptance : Accepted
Project Data     (Last Modified On 7/9/2009)
Status: Native

 

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3. Erigeron pulchellus Michx. var. pulchellus (robin’s plantain)

Pl. 233 k–n; Map 973

Plants perennial herbs, with fibrous roots and long, slender rhizomes or stolons, often occurring in large colonies. Stems solitary, 15–40(–60) cm long, unbranched below the inflorescence, moderately to densely pubescent with relatively long, spreading hairs, especially toward the tip. Basal leaves present at flowering, 2–13 cm long, sessile to short-petiolate, the blade oblanceolate to broadly obovate, mostly long-tapered at the base, mostly rounded at the tip, the margins entire or bluntly to less commonly sharply toothed or scalloped, the surfaces and margins moderately to densely pubescent with relatively long, spreading to loosely appressed hairs. Stem leaves usually relatively few, 1–7 cm long, sessile, the blade lanceolate to oblong, oblong-oblanceolate, or ovate, angled or tapered to a bluntly or more commonly sharply pointed tip, rounded to shallowly cordate at the base and more or less clasping the stem, the margins entire or the lowermost leaves with a few teeth toward the tips, the surfaces and margins moderately to densely hairy. Inflorescences of solitary heads or 2–5-headed, more or less flat-topped panicles. Involucre 5–7 mm long, the receptacle 12–20 mm in diameter at flowering, the bracts sparsely to moderately pubescent with more or less spreading hairs and often also minutely glandular. Ray florets 50–80(–100), the corolla 6–10 mm long. Disc florets with the corolla 4.5–6.0 mm long. Pappus of the ray and disc florets similar, both with an inner series of 20–35 threadlike bristles 4–5 mm long and often an outer series of relatively few shorter bristles 0.1–0.4 mm long. Fruits 1.3–2.0 mm long, sparsely and inconspicuously hairy. 2n=18. April–June.

Scattered nearly throughout Missouri except the western portion of the Glaciated Plains Division (eastern U.S. west to Minnesota and Texas; Canada). Banks of streams and rivers, rocky openings of mesic to dry upland forests, savannas, and ledges and tops of bluffs; also pastures, old fields, and rarely lawns.

This species is relatively uniform morphologically over most of its range. In addition to the widespread var. pulchellus, most botanists recognize two other varieties. Essentially glabrous plants that occur mostly in the Appalachian Mountains are called var. tolsteadtii Cronquist, and a rare rock ledge specialist in Minnesota with white rays, slightly shorter disc florets, and relatively densely hairy achenes is known as var. brauniae Fernald. In var. pulchellus, the ray florets are almost always tinged with pink, purple, or blue, and the stems and leaves are pubescent with relatively long, spreading hairs.

Robin’s plantain is an attractive wildflower that deserves more widespread cultivation as a groundcover in woodland gardens.

 


 

 
 
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