Horseweed, Conyza canadensis
(Erigeron canadensis in some books)
Asteraceae or Sunflower Family


Rather unattractive, erect, weedy plant, about 3-5 feet tall, sometimes taller. Leaves narrow, with a few large teeth, rather crowded, not opposite each other. Flower heads rather attractive closeup, yellow in the middle with minute white ray flowers that stick up instead of spreading out. Fruit dandelion-like fluff, dirty brown, on a brown platter that persists after the fluff blows away. Blooms summer into fall.

Despite its weedy nature, it is native. Common in waste places and fields. In Wildwood occasional in open spaces and along the Bikeway and Wildwood Drive.

Fireweed (Erechtites hieracifolia) has somewhat similar flowerheads, but they are generally fatter and the leaves are very ragged. Wild lettuces (Lactuca sp.) have flowerheads that look similar when they close, although smaller, but when open they have obvious spreading rays; the leaves are also more highly toothed.

Flowerheads Leaves on stem Leaf
  Fruiting inflorescence