Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
ASTER FAMILY (Compositae or Asteraceae)
IND. STATUS: FACW
FIELD CHARACTERISTICS: A perennial herb with clustered stems 30-200 cm. high. The plant is often covered with glandular hairs (use a 10-15X lens). The lance- shaped leaves are entire, have no stalks, and are conspicuously lobed clasping. Lower and upper leaves are similar, but the lower leaves tend to be deciduous. The leafy inflorescence consists of several flowering heads. The flower stalks, and modified leaves subtending the flowers, have hairy glands. Both ray and disc flowers are present. The numerous, slender ray flowers are amethyst to rosy, rarely blue or white in color, while the distinctive disc flowers are yellow to yellow-orange. The nutlets are densely covered with stiff, appressed to silky, hairs. In flower from the end of July through October. Refer to Appendix B for a key to wetland asters.
ECOLOGICAL NOTES: New England aster is a common aster of wet to wet-mesic prairies. It also occurs in other inland fresh meadows, as well as upland sites such as old fields and moist, open woods. Slight disturbances often benefit this aster.
SOURCE: Gleason and Cronquist (1991); and Swink and Wilhelm (1994).