Symphyotrichum pilosum

Symphyotrichum pilosum hairy aster

Plant grows in the wild/spontaneouslyPlant is native to PA Synonyms:   Aster pilosus

This native perennial species of aster is found throughout Eastern North America. It is very similar to the panicled aster (S. lanceolatum), except that it has a stem that has numerous white hairs and is fuzzy in appearance. When this species is backlighted, it often appears to be covered with frost. The leaves are lance-shaped and somewhat willow-like, though variable in size. Teeth are either absent or sparse, but there are often marginal hairs. The plant frequently branches and these branches also produce flowers. The composite flowers have a yellow disk and white ray florets. There are about 20-40 rays per flower. Each flower is ½ to ¾ inch wide. The plant grows 1-4 feet high and is found in fields, meadows and waste areas, generally in full sun. It begins blooming in late summer but may continue through October. It is also called the hairy white oldfield aster. It may also be mistaken for the heath aster (S. ericoides), but the latter normally has smaller, thinner leaves.

Contributed by: Mark Welchley

Common in dry fields, open woods, and roadsides.

Present throughout the state, except northernmost parts of the state.

Wetland codes

Flowers from late August to late October.

Flowers   heads small in an open pyramidal inflorescence often secund on the branches; rays white, disk corollas yellow becoming purplish with age; involucre urn-shaped and glabrous; bracts with loose, marginally inrolled green tips.

Leaves  lance-elliptic to lance-linear, up to 4 in long, 1 in wide; edges entire or slightly toothed, pointed at the tip, without pedicels, typically with fairly large clusters of secondary leaves in the axils.  Basal leaves are more spatula-like and rounded at tip, with winged, sheathing stalks.  Both basal and lowest stem leaves wither away before flowering time.  Leaf surface is covered with long, spreading hairs.

Stems  ascending to erect, from branched rootstocks or rhizomes.

Fruit  a dry seed with a tuft of white hairs; it gets carried off by the wind.

S-rank:  No rank
G-rank:  G5 (Secure)