Index- plants in this Family
Asteraceae / Aster
Asters (Symphyotrichum )
Asters is also known as Wild Asters. Formerly considered to be in the genus Aster..

Plant Type: This is a herbaceous plant. Usually somewhat coarse and stiff. Mostly erect.
Leaves: The leaves are alternate. The leaves may be stalked or clasping, entire or toothed, narrow or broad, large or small but almost never divided.
Flowers: The flowers have numerous parts. They are purple, blue, lavender sometimes white. Blooms first appear in mid summer and continue into late fall. The disk is usually small in relation to the rays which are usually yellow often turning reddish. There are always several circles of overlapping bracts.
Habitat: Various
Range: All of North America.

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Identifying the forty or so wild Asters that grow in our area would be a project that even a botanist would find daunting. Only the Goldenrods, also in the Asteraceae family, form a more confusing group. Many Asters are highly variable as to vegetative structure and flower color. Furthermore species may cross with other wild species and with the horticultural plants that have been developed from some of the wild Asters. A good hand lens and a ruler are essential if you plan to identify an aster and in some cases you will be required to dissect the disk and measure parts of the disk flowers. In many cases the geographic area and the habitat are good clues that can greatly limit the list of possibilities.

In the 'More Info' section below there is a partial list of species found in some part of our area. It is presented more to demonstrate the large number of species than to give much aid in identifying the species. The USDA Plants link may have images of some of the species and will always have good range maps which are a great help with this group.

See: Hairy White Oldfield Aster, Symphyotrichum pilosum
White Wood Aster, Symphyotrichum divaricatum
Waxyleaf Aster, Symphyotrichum undulatum
Georgia Aster, Symphyotrichum georgianum
Late Purple Aster, Symphyotrichum patens

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More Info:  
The Search below may provide more information about this species. Some of URLs may have been used as a source for this page not otherwise cited. Most of the information not cited comes from multiple sources that can be found in the Books page. The USDA plant links are provided by: USDA, NRCS 1999. The PLANTS database ( National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA. You can check species names at ITIS Advanced Search to see if they meet the current ITIS taxonomic criteria.

By: Newcomb, Lawrence and Illustrated by Morrison, Gordon. 1977, Little, Brown and Company, ISBN:0-316-60442-9

One of the best general guides to wildflowers of the North Eastern and North Central United States. Newcomb's key is an excellent, simple method for identifying plants. Newcomb has drawings for almost every plant mentioned that are excellent aids to identifying the species. Though only the more common plants are covered this is often the first book I pick up when trying to identify a wildflower.

Wildflo wers of Tennessee the Ohio Valley and the Southern Appalachians
By: Dennis Horn and Tavia Cathcart and Thomas E. Hemmerly and David Duhl. , ISBN:1551054280

This is perhaps the best of many field guides covering this region. Featuring 446 excellent color photographs (located with the text) and mentioning as similar to those illustrated are another 800 or so species for a total coverage of over 1,200 species. The start of each family section includes line drawings of some of the species showing important features. The text includes the usual description, bloom season, range, habitat and additionally includes information such as medical uses and lore and how the species was named. This is the official field guide of the Tennessee Native Plant Society.

Angiosperms / Flowering Plants
Dicots / Two Seed Leaves



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