Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Northeast Wetland Flora
Field Office Guide to Plant Species
Annual Saltmarsh Aster
Aster subulatus Michx.
- Family: Composite (Compositae)
- Flowering: August-October
- Field Marks: This aster differs by its annual habit, its purple rays, its smooth stems and
leaves, and its often rather fleshy narrow leaves.
- Habitat: Brackish marshes, freshwater marshes, disturbed areas, lawns.
- Habit: Annual herb with a short taproot.
- Stems: Upright, usually much branched, up to 3 feet tall, smooth.
- Leaves: Alternate, simple, linear to narrowly lanceolate, spatulate, pointed at the tip, tapering to the sessile base, without teeth, smooth on both surfaces, up to 6 inches long, up to 1/2 inch wide.
- Flowers: Many borne in heads, with few to several heads in a raceme, each head 1/4-1/3 inch high, subtended by many very narrow, slender-pointed bracts, some of the heads forming slender blue rays, sometimes with a narrow white ring at the base,
- Sepals: 0.
- Petals: 5, some united to form flat, blue rays, sometimes with a narrow white ring at the base, others united to form tubular yellow disk flowers.
- Stamens: 5.
- Pistils: Ovary inferior, smooth or minutely hairy.
- Fruits: Achenes ellipsoid, about 1/8 inch long, minutely hairy, subtended by fine white hairs.
- Notes: This family is Asteraceae according to Gleason and Cronquist. Although this species occurs naturally in brackish or freshwater marshes, it is a frequent invader of lawns in some of the southern United States.
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