Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
It is not surprising that daisy fleabane has been found in nearly every county in North Dakota, for the species or its several varieties occupies most of southern Canada and the lower 48 United States, at elevations up to 8,500 ft. Plants have been introduced to Europe.
Daisy fleabane may reach a height of nearly three feet, but specimens 12 to 18 inches tall are the rule. One or two stems arise from the fibrous annual roots. Leaves and stems are covered with short hairs. About three-quarters of the way up the stem the plant branches profusely into a flat-topped cluster of numerous flower heads. Each head is less than a half inch wide, but nevertheless contains nearly one hundred yellow tubular flowers at the center and several dozen white ray flowers on the edge. Fruits are tiny achenes bearing fragile bristles and scales.
Grazing does not seem to have much of an effect on the abundance of daisy fleabane. Some of the Erigerons are purported to drive away fleas, relieve toothache, and cure various diseases, but I found no mention of such uses for daisy fleabane.
This plant is a member of the sunflower family (Asteraceae), an immense group which contains over 15,000 species worldwide. The family contains edible species such as lettuce and salsify, ornamentals like chrysanthemums and zinnias, and noxious weeds including thistles and cockleburs. The generic name Erigeron stems from the Greek eri, "early," and geron "old man," concerning early-flowering plants with a hoary appearance. The specific epithet strigosus means "with straight appressed hairs" in botanical Latin. Daisy fleabane was first described for science in 1803 by the pioneer Pennsylvania botanist, Lutheran minister Gotthilf Muehlenberg (1753-1815).