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Aspen Fleabane Daisy (Erigeron speciosus)
A couple of years ago I was backpacking up in the Colorado Rockies. I came upon this patch of beautiful purple flowers and snapped this awesome photo. Many people might believe that this flower is of the Aster family, but in truth, it is not. True Asters are limited almost exclusively to old world regions of Eurasia. In 1990, the Aster genus (which used to include 600 types of flowers in both Eurasia and the Americas) was divided up into several more specific categories, reserving the Aster genus almost exclusively for those types found in Eurasia. The American flowers formerly included in the Aster genus, now fall into one of these 10 genera within the tribe of Astereae. They include Canadanthus, Eucephalus, Eurybia, Ionactis, Oligoneuron, Oreostemma, Doellingeria, Almutaster, Sericocarpus, and Symphyotrichum.
It took me some time to correctly identify the specific type of flower in this picture, as there are hundreds of different types of flowers that are very similar to this one. With the help of some great people over on the Facebook Plant Identification group I was finally able to correctly identify it. I feel very certain that this is a picture of an Erigeron speciosus. The Erigeron speciosus is known by several common names like Aspen Daisy, Aspen fleabane, Showy fleabane, Garden fleabane, Sea Breeze fleabane, and several others.
The Aspen fleabane Daisy is found predominately growing wild in the mountain ranges along the western part of the United States and Canada. It has also been planted in many other regions by gardeners that love it for its bright colors. I can find no information for medicinal uses for it and some information suggests that it is not edible. Apparently, no wild animals eat it either, which makes it a good choice for flower gardeners that have wildlife foraging concerns. It is however a good source of pollen for pollinators such as honeybees.
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For more information on wildflowers check out the following books.
Newcomb’s Wildflower Guide
Botany in a Day: The Patterns Method of Plant Identification
Buy Aspen Daisy Seeds
More photos of the Aspen Fleabane Daisy
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