WILDFLOWERS OF NEW MEXICO

 
 

Only 3–12 inches tall, clumps of these perky, white flowers can cover roadsides and meadows. Multiple, branching hairy stems with one to many flower heads often sprout from the woody root crown and tend to have reddish lower halves, especially early in the season (March, April). Stems are covered with loosely flat-lying to shaggy hairs (use lens).


FLOWER: February–June. The 1/2–3/4-inch (12–20 mm) wide flower heads have crowded rows of 24–65+ petal-like, white ray florets surrounding a yellow disk. The buds nod and are pink; the backside of the white rays often have a reddish-purple blush or a midstripe; phyllaries have short, stiff hairs. Early season flowers are larger and have more ray florets.


LEAVES: Basal and alternate on stem, Basal leaves often wither by mid-season blooming. Stem blades have very narrow bases, are spatula-shaped to elliptic, 3/4–2-inches (20–50 mm) long by 1/8–3/16-inch (3–7 mm) wide, gradually reduced upward, margins entire or with 1–2 small teeth near the tip, surfaces with loose, flat-lying hairs.


HABITAT: Dry gravelly to deep sandy soils hills in desert scrublands, pinyon-juniper-oak woodlands, roadsides.


ELEVATION: 4,400–8,600 feet.


RANGE: AZ, KS, NM , OK, TX.


SIMILAR SPECIES: Spreading Fleabane, E. divergens, widespread statewide, has branching stems with erect, spreading hairs and usually numerous flower heads. Late-season E. flagellaris and E. tracyi have spreading stems (runners) with rooting plantlets. Flora of North America reports that E. modestus incorporates genes from E. flagellaris, E. tracyi, E. divergens, and the Mexican E. pubescens… “arbitrary identifications may be necessary.”


NM COUNTIES: Scattered mostly in eastern and southern NM in low- to mid-elevation habitats: Colfax, Curry, Dona Ana, Eddy, Harding, Hidalgo, Lea, Lincoln, Otero, San Miguel, Sierra, Quay, Torrance, Union.

PLAINS  (PRAIRIE)  FLEABANE

ERIGERON  MODESTUS

Aster Family, Asteraceae

Perennial herb

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1. Flower head with crowded rows of 24–65+ petal-like, white ray florets (upper arrow.)

  1. 2.Stems covered with shaggy hairs (middle arrow).

  2. 3.Nodding bud; phyllaries sparsely to moderately covered with hairs (bottom arrow).

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