Overview

Comprehensive Description

Comments

The flowerheads of Robin's Plantain are slightly larger than those of other Erigeron spp. (Fleabanes) and rather showy. Other fleabanes in the state are rather weedy annual or biennial species that lack the basal leaves of Robin's Plantain; they usually bloom a little later during the early summer and can be found in sunny habitats with a history of disturbance.
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Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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Description

This native perennial wildflower consists of a rosette of basal leaves that produces a single flowering stalk about ½–2' tall. The basal leaves are up to 5" long and 3" across; they are oval to obovate in shape, medium green on their upper surfaces, and bluntly dentate toward their tips. The alternate cauline leaves are smaller in size than the basal leaves; they are oblanceolate to oblong and clasp the flowering stalk. Both the basal and cauline leaves are more or less pubescent, particularly on their undersides. The stout flowering stalk is terete, conspicuously hairy, and unbranched; it terminates in a corymb of several daisy-like flowerheads (typically 1-6 flowerheads, but sometimes more). Each flowerhead is ¾–1¼" across, consisting of 50-100 ray florets that surround numerous yellow disk florets in the center. The ray florets are usually white, less often they are light pink or light violet. The base of each flowerhead has an outer surface consisting of numerous green bracts (phyllaries); these floral bracts are linear in shape and organized into a single series. The blooming period occurs from mid-spring to early summer and lasts about 2-3 weeks. Both the ray and disk florets are fertile, each one producing a single bullet-shaped achene with a tuft of white hairs. These achenes are distributed by the wind. After the blooming period, the flowering stalks die down, but the basal leaves persist. The root system consists of a crown of fibrous roots; rhizomes or stolons are often produced, resulting in small colonies of plants. Cultivation
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Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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Distribution

Range and Habitat in Illinois

Robin's Plantain is occasional throughout Illinois in suitable habitats, but it is more common in the northern and west-central sections of the state than elsewhere (see Distribution Map). Habitats include open rocky woodlands, wooded sand dunes, slopes of wooded bluffs, savannas and sandy savannas, banks of streams, and clearings in wooded areas. Robin's Plantain is found in less disturbed areas than other species in this genus.
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Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

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Physical Description

Morphology

Description

Perennials, 15–60 cm; rhizomatous, fibrous-rooted, primary rhizomes relatively slender, producing slender, herbaceous, scale-leaved, stoloniform rhizomes (rhizomes often not collected). Stems erect to ascending (usually abruptly dilated proximal to heads), villous (more densely so on proximal 1 / 2 ), eglandular. Leaves basal (persistent) and cauline; basal blades oblanceolate to obovate or suborbiculate, subspatulate, 20–130(–180) × 6–30(–50) mm, cauline gradually reduced distally (bases clasping and slightly auriculate), margins usually dentate to denticulate, rarely entire, faces sparsely to moderately hirsute to hirsuto-villous, sometimes glabrate or glabrous (especially adaxially), eglandular. Heads 1–4(–9). Involucres 5–7 × 6–20 mm. Phyllaries in 2–3(–4) series, sparsely to moderately hirsute to hirsuto-villous (cross walls not distinctly colored), minutely glandular to stipitate-glandular. Ray florets 50–80(–100); corollas light blue to purplish, pink, or white, 6–10 mm, laminae coiling tardily at tips. Disc corollas 4.5–6 mm. Cypselae 1.3–1.8 mm, 2(–4)-nerved, faces sparsely strigose to glabrate or glabrous; pappi: outer 0 or of setae, inner of (22–)28–36 bristles.
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Ecology

Habitat

Range and Habitat in Illinois

Robin's Plantain is occasional throughout Illinois in suitable habitats, but it is more common in the northern and west-central sections of the state than elsewhere (see Distribution Map). Habitats include open rocky woodlands, wooded sand dunes, slopes of wooded bluffs, savannas and sandy savannas, banks of streams, and clearings in wooded areas. Robin's Plantain is found in less disturbed areas than other species in this genus.
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Associations

Faunal Associations

The flowerheads attract small bees, various flies, small butterflies, and skippers. These insects seek nectar primarily, although some of the bees also collect pollen. The caterpillars of several moths feed on the flowers of Erigeron spp. (Fleabanes), including Schinia lynx (Lynx Flower Moth), Schinia obscurata (Obscure Flower Moth), Eupithecia miserulata (Common Pug), and Synchlora aerata (Wavy-Lined Emerald). Some aphids that feed on species in this genus include Aphis middletonii (Erigeron Root Aphid) and Prociphilus erigeronensis. The foliage is palatable to mammalian herbivores (rabbits, deer, livestock, etc.), while the seeds are eaten to a limited extent by the White-Footed Mouse and other small rodents.
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Flower-Visiting Insects of Robin's Plantain in Illinois

Erigeron pulchellus (Robin's Plantain)
(Short-tongued bees suck nectar and collect pollen, other insects suck nectar; one observation is from Macior, otherwise observations are from Robertson)

Bees (long-tongued)
Apidae (Bombini): Bombus griseocallis sn (Mc); Anthophoridae (Ceratinini): Ceratina dupla dupla sn (Rb); Anthophoridae (Nomadini): Nomada articulata sn (Rb)

Bees (short-tongued)
Halictidae (Halictinae): Halictus ligatus sn cp (Rb)

Butterflies
Riodinidae: Everes comyntas sn (Rb)

Skippers
Hesperiidae: Erynnis juvenalis sn (Rb)

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Erigeron pulchellus

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 3
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Source: Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD)

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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure

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Wikipedia

Erigeron pulchellus

Erigeron pulchellus (Robin’s Plantain, Blue Hill Daisy) is a very pale purplish-blue daisy in the Asteraceae family.[1] Its genus — Erigeron — contains many other species with its name.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Horn, Cathcart, Hemmerly, Duhl, Wildflowers of Tennessee, the Ohio Valley, and the Southern Appalachians, Lone Pine Publishing, (2005) p 342, ISBN 978-1-55105-428-5,
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