This section is from the book "The Standard Cyclopedia Of Horticulture Vol2", by L. H. Bailey. See also: Western Garden Book: More than 8,000 Plants - The Right Plants for Your Climate - Tips from Western Garden Experts.
(Greek, old man in spring; some of the early kinds are somewhat hoary). Compositae. Flea-bane. Hardy border plants, suggesting native asters, but blooming much earlier, growing in tufts like the English daisy, though usually from 9 inches to 2 feet high.
Stem-leaves entire or toothed: flowers solitary, or in corymbs or panicles; rays in 2 or more series, mostly rose, violet or purple, rarely cream-colored or white, and one kind has splendid orange flowers; involucre bell-shaped or hemispheric, the bracts narrow, nearly equal, in 1 or 2 series, differing from Aster in which the bracts are in many series. - About 150 species scattered over the world, particularly in temperate and mountainous regions.
The garden fleabanes are practically all perennials. A few annuals are harmless and pretty weeds. Some species have roots that are biennial, but they increase by offsets, and make larger clumps from year to year. They are of easy culture. They do best when somewhat shaded from the midday sun. They are easily propagated by seeds or division, and doubtless by cuttings, if there were sufficient demand. Small, divided plants set out in early spring produce good-sized flowering plants the first year. A good show of bloom may be had from seeds sown outdoors as early as possible in spring. Some fine masses of these plants in the hardy border or wild garden are much more desirable than an isolated specimen or two of each kind. The most popular species is E. speciosus. At present it is the best kind that has the rich soft colors, from rose to violet and purple. E. aurantiacus has dazzling orange flowers, and is unique in the genus.
a. Flowers orange.
1. aurantiacus, Regel. More or less velvety: height 9 in.: leaves oval-oblong, clasping at the base, more or less twisted: heads 1 on a stem; involucral scales loose, reflexed. July, Aug. Turkestan. R.H. 1882:78. Gn. 52, p. 485. G. 5:239. J.H. III. 52:303. - Perhaps the showiest of the genus. Sold as "double-orange daisy." aa. Flowers creamy or white.
b. Leaves linear.
2. ochroleucus, Nutt. Height 9-18 in.: stems mostly not branched: leaves rather rigid: rays 40-60, white or purplish, never yellow. Gravelly hills and plains N. Wyo. and Mont, to Utah. - This and the next are rare kinds in cultivation, sometimes sold by collectors and dealers in native plants.
bb. Leaves broader, lanceolate to ovate, or obovate.
3. Howellii, Gray. Height about 1 ft.: root-leaves obovate; stem - leaves ovate, half-clasping, all thin: rays 30-35, 1-2 lines wide, white. Mountain meadows, Cascade Mts., Ore. and Mont.
4. mucronatus, DC. (Vittadinia triloba, Hort., not DC.) Leaves lanceolate, narrowed at base, ciliate, mostly entire, often with a long, callous mucro. Mex. This plant, grown in Calif., is a much-branched perennial with variable sometimes lobed leaves, and the white rays purple on the back. G.C. III. 48:203.
5. Coulteri, Porter. A slender equally leafy perennial about 15 in. high: leaves thin, obovate or oblong, almost mucronate, and usually soft-hairy: flowers solitary on each stalk, sometimes 2 or 3 together, the white rays about 1 in. long. July. Rocky Mts. G.C. III. 30:99. Gn.W. 3, p. 587; 16:440.
AAA. Flowers rosy violet or purple.
b. Rays 100 or more, mostly narrow: leaves entire.
c. flower-heads large.
D. Involucre hairy.
e. Height about 2 ft.: stems several-flowered
6. speciosus, DC. (Stenactis speciosa, Lindl.). Height 1 1/2-2 ft., the stem more or less woody: hairs few, loose: stem very leafy at top: root-leaves more or less spatu-late; stem - leaves lanceolate, acute, half-clasping. Brit. Col. to Ore. near the coast. B.M. 3606. B.R. 1577. Gn. 52:484. G. 21:15. variety superbus, Hort., sold abroad, has lighter colored and more numerous flowers Gn. 75, p. 118. G. 31:81. variety major, Hort., has broader rays and brighter colors. variety roseus, Hort. Ray-florets lilac; disk-florets yellow. variety grandiflorus, Hort. Flowers larger and deeper in color than in variety superbus.
ee. Height 9-15 in. or less: stems usually 1-flowered
7. glaucus, Ker-Gawl. Beach Aster. Leaves slightly glaucous or often green in cultivation; root-leaves rarely 2-3-toothed: rays not narrow, light lavender-blue. Pacific coast, where it flowers most of the year. B.R. 10. Gn. 52, p. 484. variety semperflorens, Hort. A dwarf floriferous form.
8. alpinus, Lam. (E. Roylei, Hort.?). A dwarf species suitable for rockwork: stems hairy, bearing a single head of purplish flowers: leaves acute, lanceolate, sometimes ciliate but otherwise entire. Northern regions. L.B.C. 6:590. - Suitable chiefly for alpine gardens.
dd. Involucre not hairy.
9. macranthus, Nutt. Height 10-20 in.: hairs numerous and long or short, sometimes nearly absent: leaves lanceolate to ovate: rays very numerous, at least 3/4in. long. Rocky Mts., Wyo. to New Mex. and S. W. Utah. Gn. 52, p. 484. G.C. III. 46:53. - A good species. Blooms later than the eastern species. Violet. Hardy. Can be used with good effect in mass plantings of autumn-flowering asters and goldenrods.
cc. flower-heads (or disk) small.
10. glabellus, Nutt. (E. asper, Nutt.). Height 6-20 in., the stem simple or a little branched above: root-leaves spatulate; stem - leaves lanceolate, gradually narrowing into bracts: involucre bristly, or at least pubescent; rays violet-purple or white, very narrow. Minn, to Rockies. Gn. 52, p. 485. B.M. 2923. B.B. 3:385. L.B.C. 17:1631. - Much cult, abroad. variety arizonicus, Hort. A variety from Ariz.
bb. Rays 70 or less, wider: leaves entire or toothed.
c. Leaves almost or quite entire.
D. stems with several flowers in a corymb.
11. Villarsii, Bell. Root biennial: height 1 ft.: leaves with 3 or 5 nerves, roughish: flowers corymbose. Eu. B.R. 583. L.B.C. 14:1390. - Not cultivated, but in I.H. 43, p. 301, said to be a parent with E. aurantiacus of E. hybridus roseus, Hort., Haage & Schmidt. This is said to resemble E. Villarsii in habit, and E. aurantiacus in form of flowers but not in color. Said to bloom freely from May to autumn.
12. philadelphicus, Linn. Perennial by offsets: a roughish, much-branched herb with spatulate or obovate leaves often stem - clasping along the upper part of the stem: heads several, corymbose, the numerous purplish white rays being attractive in June. N. Amer. - Almost a weed and easily grown in any ordinary garden.
dd. stems mostly 1-flowered
13. salsuginosus, Gray. Height 12-20 in.: upper stem - leaves with a characteristic mucro: rays broad, giving an aster-like effect, purple or violet; the slightly viscid character of the involucre is particularly designative. Wet ground, on higher mountains, Alaska to Calif, and New Mex. C.L.A. 21. No. 11:40.
cc. Leaves coarsely toothed above the middle.
14. bellidifolius, Muhl. (E. pulchellus, Michx.). Poor Robin's Plantain. Makes new rosettes by offsets from underground stems: height 2 ft.: root-leaves wider above the middle than in most species; stem - leaves fewer: flowers spring, clear blue, on long stems Damp borders of woods. Canada to 111. and La. B.M. 2402. B.B. 3:388. - Weedy.
E. caeruleus, Hort.=(?). - E. divergens, Torr. & Gray. Diffusely branched with pubescent leaves and white or purple flower-heads. W. U. S. - E. flagellaris, Gray. A spreading plant bearing a profusion of white or pale lilac flower-heads. W. U. S. - E. grandifolius elatior, Hort. "Large solitary flowers with purple disk. June and July."=(?). - E. leiomerus, Gray. Leaves small, linear: solitary flower-heads with violet rays and a yellow disk. Colo. B.M. 7743. - E. multiradiatus, Benth. & Hook f. flower-heads terminal, solitary; ray-florets purplish; disk yellow; height 6 in. to 2 ft. Himalayas. B.M. 6530. - E. neo-mexicAnus, Gray. flower-heads loosely panicled; ray-florets linear, white; disk - florets tubular, yellow. New Mex. - E. purpureum, Hort., according to H. A. Dreer, "rarely exceeds 10 in. height, and has medium-sized flowers of soft, rosy purple, borne in graceful, spreading panicles." Form of E. macranthus (?). - E. trifidus, Schlecht. flower-heads white or pale lilac, daisy-like. Rocky Mts. E. unifioriis, Linn. Involucre hirsute, lanate, occasionally becoming naked; rays purple or sometimes white.