Symphyotrichum turbinellum (Lindl.) G.L. Nesom
Family - Asteraceae
Stem - Spreading to ascending, usually branched, sparsely pubescent with hairs often in lines, usually glabrous toward the base.
Stem and nodes.
Leaves - Basal and lower stem leaves often absent at flowering. Stem leaves sessile or short petiolate, to 12 cm long and 2 cm wide, narrowly oblanceolate, elliptic, or oblong, tapered at base, margins entire or sparsely toothed, upper surface glabrous and somewhat glossy, undersides glabrous except along midvein. Upper stem leaves reduced, sessile but not clasping.
Involucre - Relatively long, to 12 mm, with 6-9 unequal and overlapping series of bracts. Involucral bracts pale with dark green tips, usually rounded at tips, glabrous or sparsely hairy at tips and along margins.
Heads - 2-3 cm in diameter.
Florets - Ray florets 14-20 in a single series, pistillate, with purple ligules 10-16 mm long. Disk florets 15-30, yellow turning reddish-brown after pollination, with expanded apical portion of corolla exceeding unexpanded portion.
Flowering - August - November.
Habitat - Forest openings, savannas, glades, bluffs. Preference for acidic substrates.
Origin - Native to the U.S. Midwest.
Other info. - This is a relatively easy aster to recognize, with its long involucres and
elliptic leaves with tapered bases. The plants also tend to have a branched, open habit. Its relatively large heads argue for more frequent
use in gardens and landscaping.
Photographs taken at Taum Sauk State Park, Iron County, MO, 9-19-2012, and at Shaw Nature Reserve, Franklin County, MO, 10-4-2016 (SRTurner).