Habit: Erigeron speciosus is a native perennial, 6 to 30 inches tall with a leafy, bunchy stem base and numerous charming blue-violet flowers. Its lowermost spatulate leaves grow up to 6 inches long and are attached to the stems with petioles (short stalks). The upper leaves are shorter, lance or spoon-shaped and lack petioles. Each flowering shoot bears up to a dozen flower heads composed of yellow disk florets and blue or violet narrow ray corollas. White rays can also occur, yet very rarely. Flowers bloom form early to late summer. It is worth noting that except for a fringe on the edges of leaves, both the surface of the leaves and the plant’s leaf steams are usually hairless. This characteristic helps to tell showy daisy apart from other similar species.
Ecology: scattered throughout Western North America, Erigeron speciosus commonly inhabits low to mid elevations in open woodlands, thickets and forest clearings. It ranges from British Columbia, to Northwestern Oregon, east as far as South Dakota and south to Arizona and New Mexico. This species is not native to California, but was inadvertently introduced there.
Growing conditions: showy daisy enjoys full sun to partial shade, in moist to dry soils, and it is relatively easy to care for. It is a lovely addition to a sunny wildflower meadow or butterfly garden.
Several ornamental cultivars have been derived from this attractive plant, creating even more colors and choices for the very popular daisy flower bouquet.