Erigeron pallens

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Lori S.
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-10-27
Erigeron pallens

Erigeron pallens is a relative rarity that occurs on rocky alpine slopes in Alberta, BC, in the western part of the former District of MacKenzie, the Yukon, and Alaska (Moss & Packer). It's also known as Erigeron purpuratus ssp. pallens.

I've only come across one of these so far, in the one of the highest elevation, and barrenest, places we hike. It doesn't seem that there are many photos of it available, so I invite you to feast your eyes on this little beauty!
Who knows when any of us may come upon it again?

deesen's picture
Title: Guest
Joined: 2011-01-31

Lovely little thing Lori. I've become interested in Erigeron, as well as a whole host of other North American species, as a result of reading Graham Nicholls book "Alpine Plants of North America" (Timber Press-2002). I have E. aureus and E. compositus seeds from the current AGS Exchange as a starter.

David Nicholson
in Devon, UK  Zone 9b

Lori S.
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-10-27

A couple of very nice choices, David, and ones we see often in this neck of the woods!

Calgary, Alberta, Canada - Zone 3
-30 C to +30 C (rarely!); elevation ~1130m; annual precipitation ~40 cm

Tim Ingram
Title: Member
Joined: 2011-04-27

My goodness it does look barren Lori, and the rock almost looks like marble. Was there very much else up there too? I have grown a few American erigerons from seed as well and they are rather charming plants.

Dr. Timothy John Ingram
Faversham, Kent, UK
I garden in a relatively hot and dry region (for the UK!), with an annual rainfall of around 25", winter lows of -10°C and summer highs of 30°C.

Lori S.
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-10-27

It's actually very old quartzite of the Gog Group that's exposed in that area by thrust faulting and glacial valley erosion.  It's Neoproterozoic to (more likely in this area) Cambrian in age, that is, 560 - 513 million years old (according to Gadd's Handbook of the Canadian Rockies).  
Well, I described it as barren - and it is barren in comparison to densely vegetated alpine meadows below - but it is an utterly fascinating environment to walk across.  The plants found up there are few in number, dwarfed in stature, but absolutely choice.
I guess I would say it's "barren" in the same sense that some desert areas are... there would not be much to see if you were whizzing by in a car on the highway, but if you take the time to look, with every few steps, you come upon a new treasure.

Calgary, Alberta, Canada - Zone 3
-30 C to +30 C (rarely!); elevation ~1130m; annual precipitation ~40 cm

Title: Guest

Hi Lori,

Thank you for sharing such a rare photo.  I have not been able to find another of this species.  Please considering submitting a batch of your various photos to the USDA database.

Thank you,


Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-09-21

I was going to ask about the rock substrate, too.  It's different then what we are used to seeing.

Erigeron compositus was one of the first real alpines I ever grew.  (It was bought at a Chapter plant sale, of course.)  This species seeds around nicely in my troughs.

Rick Rodich    zone 4a.    Annual precipitation ~24 inches
near Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

Hoy's picture
Title: Member
Joined: 2009-12-15

I think it is beautiful! Both the plant(s) and the rocks and the barrenness!

Gives me the feeling of that I should do some walking but the weather isn't something to boast of! Did a little walk yesterday though, just to take a look at a new road they are building across one of our main access routes to the hills. Not a pretty sight but some interesting rocks - mostly different kinds of gneiss.

I thought at first the mineral in your picture was a kind of feldspar, Lori.
I like Erigerons too but they tend to be shortlived in the humid climate here.

Rogaland, Norway - with cool, often rainy summers  (29C max) and mild, often rainy winters (180 cm/year)!

Booker's picture
Title: Member
Joined: 2010-01-30

Superb images, Lori ... many thanks for posting.  Roll on summer.

Cliff Booker A.K.A. Ranunculus
On the moors in Lancashire, U.K.
Usually wet, often windy, sometimes cold ... and that's just me!

Title: Member
Joined: 2009-12-04

Thank you for showing this little gem! :)

From the High Desert Steppe
of the Great Basin and the Eastern
Escarpment of the Sierra Nevada Range
Located in Reno/Sparks,NV  zone 6-7
John P Weiser

Mark McD
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-12-14

Lori, a beautiful little species, perfect for a trough I suppose.  I remember seeing one of your photos before, but welcome the reminder of just how choice this plant is.  Hopefully you'll be able to collect seed sometime, grow it, and introduce this species into cultivation. :)

Mark McDonough
Massachusetts, USA, near the New Hampshire border USDA Zone 5
antennaria at


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