Erigeron pulchellus

Species Native to Missouri
Common Name: Robin's plantain 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Asteraceae
Native Range: Eastern and south-central United States
Zone: 3 to 8
Height: 1.50 to 2.00 feet
Spread: 1.50 to 2.00 feet
Bloom Time: April to June
Bloom Description: Pale violet rays with yellow center disk
Sun: Full sun
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Ground Cover, Naturalize
Flower: Showy
Attracts: Butterflies
Tolerate: Drought, Dry Soil

Culture

Easily grown in average, dry to medium, well-drained soils in full sun. Tolerates light shade, particularly in hot summer climates. Also tolerates heat and humidity. Good drainage is very important. Plants will naturalize in optimum growing conditions by self-seeding and stoloniferous spread. Propagate by seed, division or cuttings. Best in poor to modest soils which have not been fertilized. Plants usually perform poorly in rich soils.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Erigeron pulchellus, commonly known as robin’s plantain, is an aster-like, stoloniferous, biennial to short-lived perennial that typically grows to 2’ tall on soft, hairy, hollow, unbranched, sparsely-leaved flowering stems rising from a basal clump of paddle-shaped, scalloped to bluntly toothed, soft and hairy leaves (2-6” long). Stem leaves are shorter, stem-clasping, ovate to lanceolate and sparse. This plant is native to rocky or open woods, thickets, fields, moist streambanks, disturbed areas and roadsides from Minnesota to Ontario, Quebec and Maine south to Florida, Louisiana and Texas. In Missouri, it is commonly found in the eastern half of the State plus the Ozark region, but is absent from the northwestern part of the State. Stems are topped in April to June with a profuse and showy bloom of small flowers (to 1 1/2” wide) in loose clusters (2-6 flowers per cluster). Each flowerhead has 50-100 densely packed, thread-like, white to pale violet ray florets surrounding a yellow center disk. Flowers resemble asters but have rays that are much narrower and more numerous.

Genus name comes from the Greek words eri meaning early and geron meaning old man in reference to the early bloom time and downy plant appearance suggestive of the white beard of an old man.

Specific epithet from Latin means beautiful.

Plants in the genus Erigeron are often commonly called fleabane as a result of a once widely held theory that these plants repel fleas.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Some susceptibility to powdery mildew, leaf spots and rust.

Garden Uses

Cottage gardens, butterfly gardens, native plant/wildflower gardens, meadows or naturalized areas. May be used in borders and rock gardens.