Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
ASTER FAMILY (Compositae or Asteraceae)
IND. STATUS: FACW+
FIELD CHARACTERISTICS: A colonial, perennial herb 40-260 cm. high. It may form dense, monotypic stands. Stem leaves are lobed-clasping at their bases and are conspicuously crowded, particularly towards the inflorescence. Stems are green with mahogany marks at the nodes, or streaked. In addition, the stems are smooth, to sparingly covered with stiff, straight hairs. The inflorescence is hairy or smooth, but does not have glands. Ray flowers are usually pale blue to lavender. Nutlets are hairy. In flower from August to October. Refer to Appendix B for a key to wetland asters.
ECOLOGICAL NOTES: Swamp aster, also called shining aster, is one of the more common wetland asters, primarily of inland fresh meadows. This species seems to increase in response to disturbances such as grazing and drainage. Some authorities consider this species as A. puniceus var. firmus (Nees) T. & G., while Gleason and Cronquist (1991) apply the name A. firmus Nees.
SOURCE: Gleason and Cronquist (1991); Swink and Wilhelm (1994); Great Plains Flora Association (1991); and Ownbey and Morley (1991).