3. Erigeron pulchellus Michx. var. pulchellus (robin’s plantain)
k–n; Map 973
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.
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,
is an attractive wildflower that deserves more widespread cultivation as a
groundcover in woodland gardens.