September 22nd, 2010

dandelion

50 More Urban Species #35: Mexican fleabane



Mexican fleabane Erigeron karvinskianus

It's the last day of summer, the last day I won't feel too ridiculous posting a species I encountered back in August! Erigeron karvinskianus has many common names including seaside daisy, profusion fleabane, Mexican daisy, and Latin American fleabane. I'm going to use the name Mexican fleabane, since it is simple, fairly distinct, and accurate. It is native to Mexico and parts of South America, but has been deliberately introduced and cultivated around the world as an ornamental. It is considered invasive in some sensitive island habitats. In the places I visited in Britain this summer it did not seem to be considered invasive, and was actively cultivated, especially in stone walls.

The plant prefers open sun and dry sandy soil, in fact the cracks in the mortar of a rock wall building seems to be ideal. They were in bloom during my visit, and lent a cheery lively aspect to what would have been hot bare stone. It was fascinating to see weeds so carefully cultivated to grow in the cracks of man-made structures, when elsewhere so much effort is put into eradicating them.


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