Native Plant Patch: Oakleaf Fleabane

oakleaf fleabane, Erigeron quercifolius, field of flowers
oakleaf fleabane (Erigeron quercifolius) field of flowers

I have always been a defender of weeds and wild things … the overlooked and unappreciated … the underdogs in the natural world.

So there’s no better place to start with my articles about wild patches of nature.  I’m going to post photos of native plant patches that have been left to their own devices and point out all the wildlife that use them.  People are always amazed at the amount of life and beauty in a seemingly lifeless, and useless, wild patch of plants that I can point out to them.  

Check out all the beauties that call a small patch of oakleaf fleabane calls home! 

cabbage white butterfly on a blade of grass
cabbage white butterfly (Pieris rapae)
Ceraunus Blue butterfly
Ceraunus blue butterfly (Hemiargus ceraunus)
dainty sulphur butterfly (Nathalis iole)
dainty sulphur butterfly (Nathalis iole)

Oakleaf fleabane is a wonderful, native, wildflower that emerges in late winter and early spring with small white flowers with yellow centers.

I always advocate leaving them be so the pollinators have nectar and pollen early in the year.

Since the flowers are small the pollinators that use the flowers are small.  Most of these insects are very small and tend to go unnoticed but they are important residents of our Florida green spaces.

Erigeron quercifolius is the botanical name for this wildflower.

Just a few of these wildflowers, left to go wild, in your green space will create a mini-meadow and provide for pollinators that you may not realize you even had in, and around, your yard.  The patch that I have is in my front lawn and it provides me with flowers and pollinators to watch and enjoy.

common blue damsel fly (Enallagma cyathigerum)
common blue damsel fly (Enallagma cyathigerum)
southern spreadwing damsel fly Lestes autralis
southern spreadwing damsel fly (Lestes autralis)
eastern pondhawk dragonfly, Erythemis simplicicollis
eastern pondhawk dragonfly (Erythemis simplicicollis)

Oakleaf fleabane grows without any human interaction at all.  It is commonly found in lawns and roadsides. 

 It grows in full sun and uses natural rainfall as its only source of water. 

They provide so much for so many creatures in a very small space.  Insects abound where this native, Florida, wildflower grows.  We are losing pollinators at a fantastic rate because of habitat destruction and poisons.  Every little bit of pollinator habitat helps.  Create a mini-meadow and enjoy all the tiny creatures that show up!

female Florida deepdigger scarab beetle aka dung beetle (Peltotrupes profundus)
female Florida deepdigger scarab beetle aka dung beetle (Peltotrupes profundus)
European honeybee on Erigeron quercifolius flower
European honeybee (Apis mellifera)
flower fly Toxomerus boscii
flower fly (Toxomerus boscii)

All the creatures that use these flowers need these flowers to survive … to get through their lives … to complete their life cycles.  In addition to the pollinators there are predators that live amongst the petals and stems.  The cycle of life is created, but on a very small scale of tiny creatures.

common house fly Musca domestica
common house fly (Musca domestica)
American bird grasshopper, Schistocerca americana
American bird grasshopper (Schistocerca americana)
gray hairstreak butterfly
gray hairstreak butterfly (Strymon melinus)

I hope I inspire you to leave some wildflower patches in your green space to enjoy and provide for the pollinators and other wildlife.

fork-tailed bush katydid (Scudderia furcata)
fork-tailed bush katydid baby aka nymph (Scudderia furcata)
fork-tailed bush katydid (Scudderia furcata) eggs

LOVE the bugs and they will help you to pollinate your vegetable garden!

Eastern lubber grasshopper, Romalea microptera
Eastern lubber grasshopper (Romalea microptera)
European honeybee on Oakleaf Fleabane, Erigeron quercifolius
European honeybee (Apis mellifera)
phaon crescent butterfly on Erigeron quercifolius flower
phaon crescent butterfly (Phyciodes phaon)

The beautiful blooms with put a smile on your face!

robber fly (Ommatius species)
Mallophora bomboides, Florida bee killer robber fly
Florida bee killer robber fly (Mallophora bomboides)
sulphur butterfly chrysalis on Oakleaf Fleabane, Erigeron quercifolius
cloudless sulphur butterfly chrysalis (Phoebis sennae)

You will make the wildlife in your garden happy too!

sweat bee Halictus poeyi on Oakleaf Fleabane, Erigeron quercifolius
sweat bee (Halictus poeyi)
sweat bee, Lasioglossum floridanum, on Oakleaf Fleabane, Erigeron quercifolius flower
sweat bee (Lasioglossum floridanum)
Palpada agrorum, double-banded plushback syrphid fly on Oakleaf Fleabane, Erigeron quercifolius flower
double-banded plushback syrphid fly (Palpada agrorum )

Love the bugs and blooms!

youtube video about oakleaf fleabane
Check out my video about oakleaf fleabane!

Sharon's Florida specializes in Florida ecotype seeds.

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