This week’s flower – Showy Daisy Fleabane, or Erigeron speciosus – is one now blooming nearly everywhere, from the town up to the ski hill. Summer rains have made it even more beautiful and profuse than usual.
Many people confuse this flower and its cousins (we saw six different species on our walk yesterday) for asters. The difference is pretty easy—the fleabanes have many, many more petals—asters having only about 20 while the fleabanes can have over 100. Fleabane means it keeps away fleas, and it must work since we don’t seem to have fleas around where they grow! Their name—Erigeron— is greek for ‘early-eri and old-geron,’ as in geriatric. I don’t know why it gets old early but there you have it. It grows in two forms—substantial bushes and single stems. In fact I’m thinking Los Alamos has its own variety, which is a cross between a higher altitude form and ours.