Symphyotrichum ericoides (Many-Flowered Aster) - photos and description





Flower heads secund; front of inflorescence shown above.

Flower heads secund; back of inflorescence shown above.




General: Upright plants, rhizomatous often found in large colonies. Stems are hirsute, hairs on stem do not grow in lines.

Flowers: Inflorescence is many flowered, crowded, with most flower heads secund (arranged on only one side of the stem) on arching branches. We measured flower heads to 12 mm in diameter; we counted from 20 to 25 ray florets. Bracts in 3 or 4 series in the involucre. We measured the involucre at 4 mm long, and bracts at 3 mm long.

Leaves: Leaves are alternate, linear, entire, sessile, we measured a leaf at 2.5 cm long and 3 mm wide. Leaves and bracts spinulose at the apex.

Height: Height listed in Budd's Flora to 60 cm, we measured plants to 80 cm tall.

Habitat: Open prairie.

Abundance: Common.

Origin: Native.

Synonym: This plant is listed in some of the field guides we use as Aster ericoides.

Similar species: This plant is quite similar to Symphyotrichum falcatum, furthermore, they share the same habitat and flower at the same time. To distinguish between the two:

- The flower head of S. ericoides is 10-15 mm across, the flower head of S. falcatum is 20-25 mm across (Budd's Flora).

- The inflorescence of S. ericoides is usually secund, the inflorescence of S. falcatum is not secund (Budd's Flora).

- The inflorescence of S. ericoides is paniculate (Taxonomic Reminder for Recognizing Saskatchewan Plants), flower heads numerous (Budd's Flora), the flower heads of S. falcatum are solitary or few at the ends of branches (Budd's Flora).

When and where photographed: The above photos were taken July 31st near MacLean, about 50 km east of Regina, SK, and August 13th grassland about 20 km east of Regina, and August 17th in the Qu'Appelle Valley about 40 km north west of our home in Regina, SK.