Daisy Fleabane Wildflower: Identification, Edibility and Foraging

Daisy fleabanes are early spring wildflowers with pinkish white petals and yellow centers. This beautiful pollinator derives its common name from the superstition that dried clusters of these plants could be used to rid a residence of fleas. The entire daisy fleabane plant is considered edible, including the leaves, blossoms, and stems.

Read on to find out what you can do with daisy fleabane.

Daisy fleabane plant profile

Scientific nameErigeron annuus
Family nameAsteraceae
Plant typeHerbaceous, annual or biennial flowering plant
KingdomPlantae
GenusFleabane
PhylumVascular plant

Common names include:

  • annual fleabane
  • daisy fleabane 
  • eastern daisy fleabane

Daisy fleabane Identification

The daisy fleabane is distinguished by its composite flowers, hairy stems, and hairy leaves. It is a beautiful but ubiquitous plant that appears on its own.

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While it belongs to the Aster family, its earlier blooming season distinguishes it from asters with similar flowers.

1. Flowers

Daisy fleabanes have flowers composed of at least forty rayless petals. A radially symmetrical flowering structure is characterized by a wide, bright yellow central disk surrounded by white to white/pink, short rays.

Compared with the central disk, these rays are relatively short and are supported beneath by equal-sized green sepals.

2. Leaves

There are two types of leaves on this wild edible; lanceolate to ovate; the basal leaves are long, some reaching 2 inches in length, and they are covered in hairs.

The leaves are smaller, toothed, clasping, and hairy along the stem.

3. Height

The height of this plant can range from 12 to 60 inches.

Daisy fleabanes
Daisy fleabanes (forestwander.com)

Where do daisy fleabanes grow?

Daisy fleabane can be found in fields, roadsides, and waste areas. This plant prefers full sunlight, dry conditions, and alkaline soil containing clay or gravel.

However, this plant can adapt to soil containing fertile loam without taller, more aggressive plants.

They are found throughout North America and have also naturalized in central Europe. It is also widely distributed as a naturalized plant near mountains and lakes in Korea.

This plant grows in USDA plant hardiness zones 2 through 8, though in zones 7 and 8, it may struggle in the summer heat.

How do you use daisy fleabanes?

There are several ways in which daisy fleabanes can be used, including raw, cooked, dried, or extracted.

  • Leaves – Leaf water or extract has antioxidant properties and reduces the risk of diabetes associated with obesity
  • Flowers – Reduce mucous production
  • Root – An extract of the root of Erigeron annuus is anti-inflammatory

It has been used to treat multiple disorders, including:

  • cyanotic detoxification
  • acute gastroenteritis
  • acute infectious hepatitis
  • schizophrenia
  • hypoglycemia
  • anti-inflammation

Recent studies reveal that Erigeron annuus possesses health functions, including:

  • antimicrobial
  • antitumor
  • anti-inflammatory
  • antioxidant
  • and cellular imperviousness-improving effects

Daisy fleabane was used as an eye medicine, a diuretic, and a treatment for kidney disease and gout.

Cherokee and Houma tribes boiled the roots to induce miscarriages and treat menstruation problems.

Is daisy fleabane toxic?

Although this plant is healthy for humans to consume, it may be toxic to cats and dogs who consume parts of the plant.

The milky sap of fleabane can also cause a rash if it comes into contact with sensitive skin.

Despite not being considered poisonous, you should seek medical attention immediately if you or your pet experience a strong reaction.

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Daisy feabanes

Is daisy fleabane edible?

The entire daisy fleabane plant is edible, including the leaves, blossoms, and stems. The small white hairs on the leaves give them a somewhat furry texture, which makes them unappealing to eat raw.

Daisy fleabane leaf extracts contain caffeic acid, an active compound that exhibits antioxidative and neuroprotective properties in neurons. The leaves are said to taste a bit like spinach.

How to use the edible parts?

The leaves can be used wherever you cook with other greens. It should be noted that although fleabane leaves are smooth, the stems’ hairy texture that most people are not fond of in their meals can be significantly reduced or eliminated by cooking.

Alternatively, you may pluck the leaves and blossoms and omit the stems, or you can steam, sauté, or cook them in soup as you would other cookable greens.

The leaves of fleabane can be eaten raw by adding a few leaves to a salad along with several blossoms as a garnish.

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