Plant of the Week
Featherleaf Fleabane (Erigeron pinnatisectus
By Charlie McDonald
Featherleaf fleabane is in the large genus Erigeron in the sunflower family (Asteraceae). Erigeron (fleabane or fleabane daisy) has about 390 species worldwide with about 170 species in North America. Many of the fleabanes are confusingly similar, but featherleaf fleabane is easy to identify. Its combination of bluish flowers and feathery divided leaves is unique among the fleabanes.
Featherleaf fleabane is restricted to the high mountains of the central Rockies in Colorado with a few plants growing in southern Wyoming and northern New Mexico. It is an herbaceous perennial that grows in alpine or subalpine habitats from 9,000–13,000 feet in elevation. At these cold high elevations, it prefers south-facing bluffs and ledges with abundant sunshine. This is one of the many plants that can be a joy to find during a summer outing to the Rocky Mountain high country.