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Erigeron modestus (Plains fleabane)
Marcus, Joseph A.

Erigeron modestus

Erigeron modestus A. Gray

Plains Fleabane, Prairie Fleabane

Asteraceae (Aster Family)

Synonym(s): Erigeron lobatus var. warnockii, Erigeron plateauensis, Erigeron warnockii

USDA Symbol: ermo2

USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

At first, this short-lived perennial forms a low, hairy-leaved clump. Numerous white, aster-like flowers are carried above the pubescent foliage on leafless stalks which nod under the weight of the unopened, pink flower buds. Later in the season, the lower leaves wither away and stem leaves appear on the now-branched stalks. By late in the season, the plant has fallen over and taken on a sprawling habit.


From the Image Gallery

46 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Leaf Retention: Deciduous
Size Notes: Up to about 16 inches tall, often shorter.
Fruit: Fruit is a cypsela (pl. cypselae). Though technically incorrect, the fruit is often referred to as an achene.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White , Yellow
Bloom Time: Feb , Mar , Apr , May , Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep , Oct
Bloom Notes: Ray florets white, pink abaxially early in anthesis. Disc florets yellow.


USA: AZ , KS , NM , OK , TX
Native Distribution: OK & TX to AZ, s. to adjacent Mex.
Native Habitat: Dry, open, calcareous uplands, Rocky uplands in West, Central and North Central Texas west to New Mexico and Arizona. Well-drained gravel, limestone.

Growing Conditions

Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Dry
Soil Description: Dry, calcareous soils.
Conditions Comments: Fleabane looks wonderful in a container alone or with other natives. Cut the plant back by a third for continuous blooming all summer and continual butterfly visits. It has numerous white, aster-like flowers. At first, this short-lived perennial forms a low, hairy-leaved clump. By late in the season, the plant has fallen over and taken on a sprawling habit.


Use Food: Also called Marsh Fleabane; bees collect pollen or nectar; flies and beetles feed on pollen or nectar; other insects take nectar.
Use Other: Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Nectar Source: yes
Deer Resistant: Minimal

Value to Beneficial Insects

Supports Conservation Biological Control

This information was provided by the Pollinator Program at The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.


Description: Seeds require light for germination.
Commercially Avail: yes

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - Austin, TX
Sibley Nature Center - Midland, TX
NPSOT - Williamson County Chapter - Georgetown, TX

Herbarium Specimen(s)

NPSOT 0171 Collected Mar. 12, 1991 in Bexar County by Judith C. Berry
NPSOT 0311 Collected Mar 14, 1993 in Comal County by Mary Beth White

2 specimen(s) available in the Digital Herbarium


Bibref 946 - Gardening with Prairie Plants: How to Create Beautiful Native Landscapes (2002) Wasowski, Sally
Bibref 328 - Wildflowers of Texas (2003) Ajilvsgi, Geyata.
Bibref 286 - Wildflowers of the Texas Hill Country (1989) Enquist, M.

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Web Reference

Webref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.

Additional resources

USDA: Find Erigeron modestus in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Erigeron modestus in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Erigeron modestus


Record Modified: 2022-12-26
Research By: TWC Staff, TMH

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