Erigeron glaucus – Eric and Ron

Erigeron glaucus
Erigeron glaucus

Eric and Ron, or Erigeron glaucus if you prefer, is one of my favourite low-growing, summer flowering seaside plants. It is also known as sea fleabane and beach aster. It thrives in poor, light seaside soils and quickly spreads to form a mound of slightly greyish (hence glaucus) leaves, each plant easily spreading to cover a two foot square.

In this area, they usually flower from late May through to August. The flowers are lovely. They are typical daisy-like composites with pale purpley-pink-mauve rays around the outside and a golden coloured centre (the disc). The flowers are 2cm to 3cm across and there are masses of them, making an attractive display.

Eric and Ron isn’t completely hardy, although several sites say it is. I lost one bunch of mine completely in the hard winter a couple of years ago and frequently they will be damaged by frost, but not sufficiently much to kill them. The plants’ natural habitat is in coastal California and Oregon.

Last week, I was working in a coastal garden and cutting back clumps of Eric and Ron that had grown long and straggly and suffered from a little bit of frost damage. They respond well to cutting back, especially at this time of the year, just as they are beginning to grow again. An added benefit is that they smell delicious as they’re cut; something a little bit like fresh fruits and amber mixed together.

Whilst chopping them back, I also took cuttings: some stem and some tip, to see how they do.

In brief Erigeron glaucus is:

  • perennial
  • evergreen
  • robust, but not completely hardy
  • requires little maintenance
  • spreads readily
  • very flowerful
  • smells nice
  • thrives in seaside conditions
  • said to be good for bees and butterflies (I haven’t particularly noticed this)
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4 thoughts on “Erigeron glaucus – Eric and Ron”

  1. I’m glad to see you have a native Erigeron, too. I’ve never heard anyone refer to it as Eric and Ron, but it’s fun to play with words. My computer dictionary gives this origin for Erigeron: ” from Greek ērigerōn, from ēri ‘early’ + gerōn ‘old man’ (because the plant flowers early in the year, and some species bear gray down).”

    1. The “Eric and Ron” bit came from a childhood mis-hearing, that just stuck 🙂 Grown-ups say things that kids just can’t fathom, so they substitute the words they do know instead (and I’m still bad for doing that). I still like Eric and Ron as a name, because it lends a familiarity to the plant.

  2. Sure, I remember a few things of that sort from childhood. The word souvenir didn’t mean anything to me (it’s French, after all), but I knew what silver was, so I transformed souvenir into silverneer.

    Erigeron modestus, which is the common species we have in central Texas, matures to a white-rayed flower, but when the bud first opens, the rays can have purple in them:

    http://portraitsofwildflowers.wordpress.com/2012/03/15/prairie-fleabane/

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