Erigeron heterophyllum. Various-leaved Fleabane. Erigeron philadelphicum. Philadelphia Fleabane.
Nat. Ord. — Asteraceae, or Compositae-Asteroideae. (De Candolle.) Sex. Syst. — Syngenesia Superflua.
The Whole Plant.
Description. — The Erigeron Heterophyllum is the E. Annuum of Persoon, and many other celebrated Botanists, and which name will probably be hereafter generally adopted. It is a biennial, herbaceous plant, with a branching root, from which proceed several erect, roundish, thick, striate stems, hispid with scattered hairs, branching, and growing from three to five feet in bight. The lowest or radical leaves are ovate, acute, deeply-toothed, contracted at base, and on long, winged petioles; the upper or stem leaves are lanceolate, acute, deeply serrate in the middle, and sessile ; the floral or branch leaves are lanceolate, entire, sessile; all are ciliate at the base, except those from the root. The flowers are in large terminal, rarely lateral corymbs, numerous; disk-florets yellow, ray-florets capillary, white or pale-blue. Pappus plainly double, the outer a crown of minute chaffy-bristle-form scales ; the inner of scanty capillary bristles which are deciduous, or entirely wanting in the ray. This plant is common to the United States and Europe, being a very common weed in fields and waste grounds from Canada to Pennsylvania and Kentucky, and flowering from June to August.
The Erigeron Philadelphicum is the E. Strigosum of Willdenow, and the E. Purpureum of Aiton. It is a perennial, herbaceous plant, with a branching, yellowish root, and from one to five erect, slender, branched stems, which rise from one to five feet in hight. The lower leaves are ovate, lanceolate, nearly obtuse, ciliate on the margin, entire or marked with a few serratures, and on long petioles ; the upper leaves are narrow, oblong, somewhat wedge-shaped, obtuse, entire, sessile, and slightly embrace the stem ; the floral leaves are small and lanceolate. The flowers are very numerous, radiate, and disposed in a panicled corymb, with long peduncles bearing from one to three flowers. The rays are conspicuous, very narrow, rose-purple or flesh-color, twice as long as the hemispherical involucre. Pappus simple. The whole herb is pubescent. This plant is found growing in common with the preceding variety, flowering at the same period.
History. — These plants are identical in their medical properties, and are employed indiscriminately ; they differ from the E. Canadense in being less astringent and more diuretic. The whole herb is employed, and should be collected while in flower. They have a peculiar, aromatic odor, and a slightly bitter and astringent taste, and impart their properties to boiling water in infusion. They have not been analyzed, but yield, on distillation, a pale-yellow, acrid, styptic volatile oil, resembling that of the E. Canadense.
Properties and Uses. — Diuretic, astringent, and tonic. The infusion is very efficacious in affections of the bladder and kidneys, dysury, especially of children, painful micturition, various forms of dropsy, gravel, and in hydrothorax complicated with gout. It has also been recommended as a diaphoretic in rheumatism, fevers, colds, etc., and as an emmenagogue in suppressed menstruation ; and has been used with advantage in gout, some forms of cutaneous eruptions, and diabetes. Dose of the infusion, from two to four fluidounces, three or four times a day.