Pluchea odorata (L.) Cass. 


=P. purpurascens


=P. camphorata


Asteraceae (Sunflower Family)




Marsh Fleabane      

                                             July Photo


Plant Characteristics:  Annual to perennial, erect, branched above, 3-12 dm. high, green; lvs. alternate, ovate to lanceolate, glandular-dentate, 5-10 cm. long, 2-3 cm. wide, the lower petioled; corymbs large, discoid, with numerous purplish fls.; cent. fls. few, perfect, but sometimes sterile, with 5-cleft corolla; marginal fls. female, and perfect, the corolla narrowly tubular, truncate, entire or 2-3 toothed; invol. chartaceous, campanulate, ca. 5 mm. high; phyllaries lance-ovate; pappus of all the fls. similar, setaceous, without dilated tips.


Habitat:  Occasional in +/- alkaline wet places, at low elevs.; Coastal Salt Marsh, Freshwater Marsh, etc.; cismontane s. Calif. n. to cent. Calif.; deserts from Inyo Co. s.; to Atlantic Coast; Santa Catalina and Santa Cruz Ids.  July-Nov.


Name:  Pluche, N.A. (1688-1761), French naturalist after whom the plant genus Pluchea, was named by Cassini.  (Jaeger 314).  Latin, purpurascens, purplish.  (Jaeger 214).


General:  Common in the study area, particularly in the Big Canyon area.  Photographed at Big Canyon, along the path leading southerly from 23rd Street, and along the road from the Newporter Inn to San Joaquin Hills Dr.  (my comments).  The hot tea of P. odorata will predictably stimulate perspiration, much in the same manner as Pleurisy Root or Pennyroyal, with an increase both in the liquid and waste products.  Without an elevated temperature or increased metabolic rate, the main effects of the tea are to increase the urine.  It is a safe and reliable menstrual stimulant when the flow begins late, is scanty, and there are clotty cramps.  Further, Marsh Fleabane is distinctly antispasmodic, thus aiding the cramps.  It will also inhibit the spasms and cramps from both diarrhea and just plain stomachache.  The eyewash helps reduce redness and pain from simple hay fever, wind and dust.  The tea is a stimulant and a concentrate was once marketed as a substitute for coffee.  Unlike coffee which is a vasoconstrictor, Marsh Fleabane is a vasodilator; it is not recommended for people who get migraine headaches. (Moore, Medicinal Plants of the Desert and Canyon West 70).       A genus of some size, from warmer regions.  (Munz, Flora So. Calif. 219).       P. purpurascens and P. camphorata misapplied to P. odorata. (Hickman, Ed. 326, 1330).

Text Ref:  Hickman, Ed. 326, 1330;  Munz, Flora So. Calif. 219; Roberts 13.

Photo Ref:  July 2 83 # 16,17; July 3 83 # 18; Sept 1 83 # 16.

Identity: by R. De Ruff.  

First Found:  July 1983.


Computer Ref:  Plant Data 190

Have plant specimen.

Last edit 5/15/05.  


                                    July Photo                                                                                    July Photo