Symphyotrichum novae-angliae (L.) G.L. Nesom

New England Aster

Symphyotrichum novae-angliae plant

Family - Asteraceae

Stems - To 1.5m tall, single or multiple from base, from short thick rhizome, simple to branching above near apex, hirsute and short glandular pubescent, herbaceous, erect.

Symphyotrichum novae-angliae stemStem. Note the dense leaf arrangement.

Leaves - Alternate, sessile, clasping, auriculate, oblong to lanceolate, entire, to +8cm long, 2cm wide, variously pubescent above and below, reduced in inflorescence. Auricles rounded. Cauline leaves less than 1.5cm apart, dense on stem.

Inflorescence - Dense paniculate cluster terminating stem. Peduncles dense glandular pubescent. Each division of inflorescence subtended by a foliaceous bract.

Involucre - +/-5mm tall(long), +/-6mm in diameter. Phyllaries green to purplish, linear-attenuate, dense glandular pubescent, 1mm broad, +/-8mm long.

Symphyotrichum novae-angliae involucreInvolucre.

Ray flowers - Fertile. Ligules purple, to 1.5cm long, -2mm broad, glabrous. Style purple. Pappus of capillary bristles to -4mm long. Achene sericeous, 1mm long (in flower).

Disk flowers - Corolla tube to 5mm long, glabrous, 5-lobed. Lobes acute, orange-yellow to reddish, -1mm long. Stamens 5, adnate at base of corolla tube. Filaments translucent, glabrous. Anthers yellow, exserted, connate around style, 2mm long. Style to 7mm long, exserted, glabrous. Stigmas pubescent. Achene sericeous, whitish, 1.1mm long(in flower), 2mm long in fruit. Pappus of capillary bristles, 5mm long. Receptacle flat.

Symphyotrichum novae-angliae flowersTypical flower color.

Symphyotrichum novae-angliae flowersA more wine-colored flower head.

Flowering - Typically September - October, but I have seen the plant flower as early as July.

Habitat - Moist soils along lakes, streambanks, roadsides, railroads. Also widely cultivated.

Origin - Native to U.S.

Other info. - This species can be found throughout most of Missouri but is absent in the prairie sections of the west-central portion of the state. The plant is the most showy of all the Aster species in the state and does very well in cultivation. S. novae-angliae is very easy to identify because of the dense number of leaves it has on its stems, as well as its big flower heads.
Another species, A. patens Ait., is similar but the this plant has cauline leaves which are more widely spaced on the stem and flower heads with fewer ray flowers(15-30). A. patens is also differentiated by the fact that it grows in drier soils of more upland regions.

Photographs taken off Hwy H, Shannon County, MO., 9-28-03.