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Wetland Plants and Plant Communities of Minnesota and Wisconsin


(Aster simplex Willd.)

Marsh aster

ASTER FAMILY (Compositae or Asteraceae)


FIELD CHARACTERISTICS: A perennial herb 60-150 cm. high. It may form dense, monotypic clones. Stem leaves usually do not clasp the stem at the base. Leaf undersides are smooth except for occasional small hairs located along the margins. Leaves are mostly serrate, the larger leaves usually about 10 times as long as wide. Axial branching is distinct. The inflorescence is leafy and forms a panicle. Ray flowers are always white and smaller than those of the redstem and swamp asters (A. puniceus and A. lucidulus). In flower from July to November. Refer to Appendix B for a key to wetland asters.

ECOLOGICAL NOTES: Marsh aster is one of our more common wetland asters. It occurs in fresh (wet) meadows, sedge meadows, wet to wet-mesic prairies, calcareous fens, and old fields. Another common name is panicled aster. While Swink and Wilhelm (1994) and Great Plains Flora Association (1991) list this species as A. simplex, Gleason and Cronquist (1991) and others consider it to be A. lanceolatus Willd. with three varieties.

SOURCE: Gleason and Cronquist (1991); Swink and Wilhelm (1994); Great Plains Flora Association (1991); and Ownbey and Morley (1991).

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