Erigeron canadensis (synonym Conyza canadensis) is an annual plant native throughout most of North America and Central America. It is also widely naturalized in Eurasia and Australia. Common names include horseweed, Canadian horseweed, Canadian fleabane, coltstail, marestail, and butterweed. It was the first weed to have developed glyphosate resistance, reported in 2001 from Delaware.
Erigeron canadensis is an annual plant growing to 1.5 m (60 in) tall, with sparsely hairy stems. The leaves are unstalked, slender, 2–10 centimetres (0.79–3.94 in) long, and up to 1 cm (0.4 inches) across, with a coarsely toothed margin. They grow in an alternate spiral up the stem and the lower ones wither early. The flowers are produced in dense inflorescences 1 cm in diameter. Each individual flower has a ring of white or pale purple ray florets and a centre of yellow disc florets. The fruit is a cypsela tipped with dirty white down.
E. canadensis can easily be confused with Conyza sumatrensis, which may grow to a height of 2 m, and the more hairy Erigeron bonariensis, which does not exceed 1 m (40 in). E. canadensis is distinguished by bracts that have a brownish inner surface and no red dot at the tip, and are free (or nearly free) of the hairs found on the bracts of the other species.
Horseweed originated in North America and is very widespread there, but has spread to inhabited areas of most of the temperate zone of Asia, Europe, and Australia.
The Zuni people insert the crushed flowers of E. canadensis var. canadensis into the nostrils to cause sneezing, relieving rhinitis. A tincture can be made from the dried flowering tops of the plants. Horseweed is a preferable material for use in the hand drill-method of making friction fire.