Friday, February 20, 2015

Flower Friday: Oakleaf fleabane brings more signs of an early spring!

Oakleaf fleabane flower (Photo by Stacey Matrazzo)
Oakleaf fleabane (Erigeron quercifolius)

Also known as Southern fleabane and daisy fleabane, oakleaf fleabane is a delicate, short-lived perennial wildflower. Its small blooms (about 1/4–1/2 inch in diameter) consist of many thin, white to pinkish-purplish ray florets surrounding a broad, dense cluster of yellow disc florets. Its leaves are mostly basal and are lobed, resembling the leaf shape of some oak species (hence the common name "oakleaf fleabane," and the scientific name quercifolius, which is Latin for "oak-like foliage"; Quercus is a genus of oaks). The leaves and stems are covered in tiny, fine hairs.

Oakleaf fleabane's hairy stem and leaf (Photo by Stacey Matrazzo)
Oakleaf fleabane typically flowers in spring and summer. It occurs naturally in sandhills and moist hammocks as well as in disturbed sites and along roadsides. A variety of pollinators are attracted to its blooms.

Family: Asteraceae (Daisy family)
Native range: statewide, from Central Panhandle to the Keys
Hardiness: Zones 8a-11
Soil: Dry, sandy soils to slightly moist soils
Exposure: Full sun to moderate shade
Growth habit: 12–24"
Garden tips: Oakleaf fleabane is best utilized in a meadow or naturalistic setting. It is easily propagated by seed. It does have a tendency to get weedy if left to its own devices.

Oakleaf fleabane is often available at nurseries that specialize in native plants.Visit PlantRealFlorida.org to find a native nursery on your area.

To see where oakleaf fleabane occurs naturally, visit www.florida.plantatlas.usf.edu/Plant.aspx?id=1019.

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