Symphyotrichum falcatum (White Prairie Aster) - photos and description







Flower heads single or a raceme of 2-3


General: Erect plant with a branching growth habit. Stems pubescent with spreading hairs (hairs not arranged in lines).

Flowers: Flower heads single at the end of stems, or in a raceme of 2-3. Flower heads are white, we measured flower heads from 17 to 23 mm in diameter, we counted 23 to 25 rays in a flower head. Involucre with recurved, spinulose bracts, the lowest bracteoles can be equal in length to the involucre. We measured an involucre at 6 mm long, with its lowest bracteole also at 6 mm long.

Leaves: Leaves are alternate, linear, entire, sessile, spinulose at the apex, strigose. We measured a leaf 5 cm long by 4 mm wide.

Height: Height listed in Budd's Flora to 80 cm. We measured plants to 51 cm tall.

Habitat: Dry, open grassland.

Abundance: Common.

Origin: Native.

Synonym: Listed in some of the field guides we use as Aster falcatus.

Similar species: This plant is quite similar to Symphyotrichum ericoides, 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 August 16th, and 17th, Qu'Appelle Valley about 40 km north west of our home in Regina, SK.