Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Northeast Wetland Flora
Field Office Guide to Plant Species
Aster puniceus L.
- Family: Composite (Compositae)
- Flowering: August-November
- Field Marks: The distinguishing features of this aster are its usually purple stems, its
clasping leaves, and its blue-rayed flower heads 1/3-1/2 inch high.
- Habitat: Swamps, rich woods, wet open areas.
- Habit: Perennial herb from a stout rhizome.
- Stems: Upright, branched or unbranched, stout, hairy or less commonly smooth, up to 8 feet tall.
- Leaves: Alternate, simple, lanceolate to elliptic, pointed at the tip, tapering to a clasping base, toothed or sometimes without teeth, rough or smooth on the upper surface, hairy or smooth on the midvein below, up to 8 inches long, up to 2 inches long.
- Flowers: Many crowded into heads, with several heads in an open, leafy panicle, the heads 1/3-1/2 inch high, subtended by narrow, loose bracts, some of the flowers forming blue rays, others forming a central yellow disk; ray flowers 20-60, 1/3-1 inch long; disk flowers 35-50, tubular.
- Sepals: 0.
- Petals: Some united to form flat blue rays, others united to form tubular disk flowers.
- Stamens: 5.
- Pistils: Ovary inferior, smooth.
- Fruits: Achenes ellipsoid, smooth, about 1/8 inch long, subtended by white hairs.
- Notes: Asteraceae is the name used for this family by Gleason and Cronquist. This species is also called purple-stemmed aster.
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