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robin's plantain

robin's plantain (plănˈtĭn) [key], common name of several plants belonging to the family Asteraceae (aster family). Robin's plantain, also known as hawkweed, of the genus Hieracium, is mostly native to South America and Europe. The ancient Greeks believed that the hawks used the sap of these plants to sharpen their eyesight. Poor robin's plantain, also called fleabane, is the common name for the genus Erigeron, found worldwide, particularly in mountainous regions. The name comes from the Greek, meaning "old man in the spring." Robin's plantains are classified in the division Magnoliophyta, class Magnoliopsida, order Asterales, family Asteraceae.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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