You may not consider Mexican Fleabane, Erigeron karvinskianus, a Christmas flower. I beg to differ as I consistently find it flowering throughout the year, including during BSBI’s annual New Year Plant Hunt along with our more humble, native Daisy, Bellis perennis. It flowers more profusely between April and October perhaps, but you will invariably find a few flowers outside these months on West Country walls close to habitation.
Mexican Fleabane was first introduced to British gardens in 1836. It was first described by the famous Swiss botanist, Augustin Pyramus de Candolle (1778-1841). He gave the flower its Latin botanical name, Erigeron karvinskianus, after the Bavarian naturalist, Wilhelm Friedrich Karwinski von Karwin (1780-1855). The latter was responsible for collecting it from Mexico.
Gardeners regard the plant as an easy, reliable doer. Some botanists may consider it an invasive. The great garden designer, Gertrude Jekyll (1843-1932, did much to popularise the flower. I am particularly fond of the way that it softens and embellishes the stonework at Hestercombe Gardens near Taunton. The famous Daisy Steps appear in the photo on the left. The trouble is that, once planted, Mexican Fleabane likes to spread into other cracks and crevices. It is a prolific self-seeder. Its seeds can travel long distances on the wind. Such behaviour has earned it a place in CABI’s Invasive Species Compendium and a ban from sale in some countries.
Mexican Fleabane is a resilient flower to look out for alongside our native Daisy during the winter.
References and Further Reading
- CABI (2021): Erigeron karvinskianus (Karwinsky’s Fleabane). Invasive Species Compendium
- Harrap, Simon (2013): Harrap’s Wild Flowers. A Field Guide to the Wild Flowers of Britain & Ireland. Bloomsbury.
- JSTOR (2000-2001): Karwinsky von Karwin, Wilhelm Friedrich von (1780-1855). Global Plants.
Karen does not seek or receive any commercial interest or advantage from this blog. She is not promoting any business venture. She simply loves to share fascinating facts about plants. These pages illustrate her love of plants, botany, biodiversity, gardens and creative expression. There is always so much to learn about plant diversity. This blog is designed as a showcase for photography, commentary on plants and wildlife, gardens and other places visited, horticulture and related topics. Viewpoints are her own, not those of her employer.
All above photos © Karen Andrews