Nature’s Notebook

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Photo for species Symphyotrichum_ericoides

Although Symphyotricum ericoides is native to much of North America, it has been introduced to many areas beyond its native range. It was once classified in the genus Aster and is often still found under the name Aster ericoides in the horticultural trade.

Photo Credit:
© Jennifer Anderson. United States, IA, Scott Co., Davenport, Nahant Marsh. 2001, @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database.

Symphyotrichum ericoides

white heath aster
What does this species look like?
What does this species look like?: 

White heath aster is a perennial, herbaceous plant growing 1 to 3 feet tall. Its small, white with yellow- to reddish-centered flowerheads consist of many tiny, tightly clustered flowers, mostly having both male and female parts. Flowerheads are generally plentiful, producing a showy display on each plant. They are insect-pollinated.

White heath aster is found on dry, open sites, including plains, prairies, grassy hillsides and dunes, as well as sand bars, river banks, and thickets.

Where is this species found?
States & Provinces: 
AB, AL, AR, AZ, BC, CO, CT, DE, GA, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, MA, MB, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, MT, ND, NE, NH, NJ, NM, NT, NY, OH, OK, ON, OR, PA, QC, RI, SD, SK, TN, TX, UT, VA, VT, WA, WI, WV, WY
Which phenophases should I observe?
Leaves

Do you see...?

Initial growth
New growth of the plant is visible after a period of no growth (winter or drought), either from above-ground buds with green tips, or new green or white shoots breaking through the soil surface. Growth is considered "initial" on each bud or shoot until the first leaf has fully unfolded. For seedlings, "initial" growth includes the presence of the one or two small, round or elongated leaves (cotyledons) before the first true leaf has unfolded.

Leaves
One or more live, fully unfolded leaves are visible on the plant. For seedlings, consider only true leaves and do not count the one or two small, round or elongated leaves (cotyledons) that are found on the stem almost immediately after the seedling germinates. Do not include fully dried or dead leaves.

Flowers

Do you see...?

Flowers or flower buds
One or more fresh open or unopened flowers or flower buds are visible on the plant. Include flower buds or inflorescences that are swelling or expanding, but do not include those that are tightly closed and not actively growing (dormant). Also do not include wilted or dried flowers.

How many flowers and flower buds are present? For species in which individual flowers are clustered in flower heads, spikes or catkins (inflorescences), simply estimate the number of flower heads, spikes or catkins and not the number of individual flowers.

Less than 3;3 to 10;11 to 100;101 to 1,000;More than 1,000

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Open flowers
One or more open, fresh flowers are visible on the plant. Flowers are considered "open" when the reproductive parts (male stamens or female pistils) are visible between or within unfolded or open flower parts (petals, floral tubes or sepals). Do not include wilted or dried flowers.

What percentage of all fresh flowers (buds plus unopened plus open) on the plant are open? For species in which individual flowers are clustered in flower heads, spikes or catkins (inflorescences), estimate the percentage of all individual flowers that are open.

Less than 5%;5-24%;25-49%;50-74%;75-94%;95% or more

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Fruits

Do you see...?

Fruits
One or more fruits are visible on the plant. For Symphyotrichum ericoides, the fruit is very tiny and seed-like and is crowded into a spent flower head. The seed-like fruit has a tuft of white fluff and changes from yellow-green to tan or brown, and drops or is blown from the plant. Do not include empty flower heads that have already dropped all of their fruits.

How many fruits are present?

Less than 3;3 to 10;11 to 100;101 to 1,000;More than 1,000

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Ripe fruits
One or more ripe fruits are visible on the plant. For Symphyotrichum ericoides, a fruit is considered ripe when it has turned tan or brown and readily drops or is blown from the spent flower head when touched. Do not include empty flower heads that have already dropped all of their fruits.

What percentage of all fruits (unripe plus ripe) on the plant are ripe?

Less than 5%;5-24%;25-49%;50-74%;75-94%;95% or more

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Recent fruit or seed drop
One or more mature fruits or seeds have dropped or been removed from the plant since your last visit. Do not include obviously immature fruits that have dropped before ripening, such as in a heavy rain or wind, or empty fruits that had long ago dropped all of their seeds but remained on the plant.

How many mature fruits have dropped seeds or have completely dropped or been removed from the plant since your last visit?

Less than 3;3 to 10;11 to 100;101 to 1,000;More than 1,000

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