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Erigeron acer (alt. spelling)
Subordinate taxa (in Alaska):
Erigeron acris ssp. debilis
Erigeron acris ssp. kamtschaticus
Erigeron acris ssp. politus
Genus: Erigeron (fleabane)
Family: Asteraceae/Compositae (Aster family)
Leaves can be boiled and eaten or eaten as a salad green, but is not a preferable food. Typically considered only during famine.
Bitter fleabane (Erigeron acris) is a biennial or perennial herb that grows from a taproot and a woody rhizome. It is typically about 40-70 cm (40-27 in) tall but grows up to 1 m (40 in) tall with several or singular, erect stems. Most of the leaves are basal, glabrous, and may be lobed or unlobed. Each node on the stem also has a single leaf alternately. It is often highly branched, sometimes with pubescent stems.
The flowers form on a panicle array or sometimes a corymb array. Each flower has both a tubular disk corolla as well as a ray floret approximately 10-25 mm in width. The outer ray florets are small and typically lilac or purple but can be white or pinkish and may not always be obvious. The inner disk florets are yellow. The seed head is cottony, or dandelion-like with white to whitish-brown filaments.
The subspecies Erigeron acris var. kamtschaticus has remotely serrate basal leaves and sparsely strigose phyllaries. The subspecies Erigeron acris var. politus has more purple stems and phyllaries and glabrous leaves and stems.
Distribution and Habitat
Bitter fleabane (Erigeron acris) has a circumpolar distribution, found in Alaska, Canada, the northern United States, Asia, and Europe.
Erigeron acris needs full sun but can grow in variable moist or dry soils. It is most frequently found in meadows, pastures and grasslands, wetlands, and forest margins.
|Rank||Scientific Name (Common Name)|
|Subkingdom||Tracheobionta (Vascular plants)|
|Superdivision||Spermatophyta (Seed plants)|
|Division||Magnoliophyta (Flowering plants)|
|Family||Asteraceae ⁄ Compositae (Aster family)|
|Genus||Erigeron L. (fleabane)|
|Species||Erigeron acris L. (bitter fleabane)|
References and Further Reading
Erigeron acer – L., Plants For a Future (pfaf.org)
Erigeron acris var. kamtschaticus (DC.) Herder Taxonomic Serial No.: 535012, ITIS Database
Erigeron acris L. bitter fleabane, USDA Database
31. Erigeron acris Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 2: 863. 1753., Flora of China (www.eFloras.org)
Diagram/drawing: Britton, N.L., and A. Brown. 1913. An illustrated flora of the northern United States, Canada and the British Possessions. 3 vols. Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York. Vol. 3: 441. Provided by Kentucky Native Plant Society
All online references accessed September 2020 unless otherwise noted