Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Calico Aster (Aster lateriflorus)
- Family: Aster (Asteraceae)
- Flowering: August-November.
- Field Marks: This species differs from other white-flowered asters by having the midvein on the lower surface of the
leaf hairy while the rest of the leaf is smooth.
- Habitat: Low woods, wet prairies, swamps, sloughs,
edges of streams, borders of ponds and lakes.
- Habit: Perennial herb with slender rhizomes.
- Stems: Erect, slender, branched or unbranched, smooth
or hairy, green or purple, up to 3 1/2 feet tall.
- Leaves: Alternate, simple, linear-lanceolate to
elliptic, pointed at the tip, tapering to the base, with or
without teeth, sometimes rough to the touch but not hairy on the
upper surface, smooth on the lower surface except for the hairy
midvein, up to 6 inches long, up to 1 1/2 inches wide.
- Flowers: Many crowded into a head, with many heads
per plant, each head up to 3/4 inch across, composed of 2 kinds
of flowers, the outer flowers white and ray-like, the inner
yellow, tubular, forming a disk.
- Sepals: Absent.
- Petals: Some white, very narrow, ray-like, about 10-50 in number, others yellow, 5-parted, forming a short tube.
- Stamens: 5.
- Pistils: Ovary inferior, hairy.
- Fruits: Achenes elongated, hairy, light brown, about
1/10 inch long.
- Notes: The leaves are eaten by white-tailed deer,
while the fruits are eaten by waterfowl.
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