Archive for the ‘Biennial’ Category

Common Fleabane

Sunday, January 11th, 2009

Fleabane (Erigeron annuus) is an Eastern U.S. roadside staple. This shrubby member of the Asteraceae features shaggy, daisy-like flowers and slender stems dotted with stiff hairs. The disk flowers always mature from green to yellow and the ray flowers are white and slender. The tomentose leaves clasp the stem (sessile) and lack petioles.

Fleabane doesn’t have a particularly rich medicinal history, though it was at times used to treat dysentery and ulcers in the old world. It has also been called “Job’s Tears” because it was believed Job used a tea of this plant to treat his own ulcers ([botanical.com]).

Traditionally, fleabane was burned and smoked in a pot like an incense to ward off fleas and other insects–much like the function of a citronella candle. Similarly, pasture animals do not typically eat fleabane due to its reportedly unpleasant flavor.

English early modern botanist and apothecary [John Parkinson] did reccommend that fleabane “bound to the forehead is a great helpe to cure one of the frensie,” (as quoted in [The Old English Herbals] by E.S. Rhodes).

Other species of fleabane bloom in the range of the anthocyanins but particularly purples and blues and do not feture sessile leaves.