Overview

Comprehensive Description

Description

From late fall to spring, this native perennial wildflower exists as a small basal rosette of leaves spanning up to 4½" across. As warmer weather arrives, it bolts, developing one or more flowering stems that are 1-3' long. These stems can be erect, ascending, or sprawling; they are sparingly branched, slender, light green, terete, and glabrous. Alternate leaves along the stems are about 1½–3" long and 1/8–1/4" across; they are linear-lanceolate or narrowly elliptic, medium green, glabrous, and sessile. The leaf margins are either rolled inward and smooth or shallowly and sparingly toothed. Each alternate leaf has a single central vein that is prominent. The central stem (and any lateral stems) terminates in a rather airy panicle of flowerheads about 6-9" long and a little less across. Generally, the flowerheads are more or less erect in relation to the panicle, which often leans sideways to some extent; the flowerheads are not secund (always facing upward away from the ground). The ascending branches of the panicle are slender, light green, and glabrous. Individual flowerheads develop from terminal branches that are usually ½" or more in length. Several small leafy bracts occur along the terminal branches; these bracts are linear in shape and less than ¼" in length. Larger leafy bracts can occur on non-terminal branches. Each flowerhead is about ½" across, consisting of 15-25 white ray florets and 10-20 yellow disk florets; the disk florets later become reddish purple. At the base of each flowerhead, there are small appressed floral bracts in 3-5 series that surround the involucre; this involucre is 3-6 mm. long. The floral bracts have dark green tips, otherwise they are light green; these dark green tips are rhombic-obovate or rhombic-oblanceolate in shape. The blooming period occurs from late summer to early fall and lasts about 1 month. The florets are replaced by small achenes with sessile tufts of white hair, which are distributed by the wind. Individual achenes are bullet-shaped with 3-5 prominent ribs and they are pale pink to straw-colored. The root system is fibrous and rhizomatous; on an older plant, a small caudex may develop. Vegetative offsets are sometimes formed by the rhizomes.
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© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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Distribution

National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Unknown/Undetermined

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Unknown/Undetermined

Confidence: Confident

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

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Range and Habitat in Illinois

The Rice Button Aster is an uncommon plant that is found primarily in sandy areas of NE Illinois; elsewhere in the state, it is rare or absent. Illinois lies close to the northern range limit of this species. Habitats include dry-mesic sandy savannas, interdunal swales, moist meadows, areas along sandy paths, and abandoned fields. Rather oddly, Rice Button Aster gravitates toward either fairly dry or poorly drained habitats.
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© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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Localities documented in Tropicos sources

Aster dumosus var. coridifolius (Michx.) Torr. & A. Gray:
United States (North America)

Note: This information is based on publications available through Tropicos and may not represent the entire distribution. Tropicos does not categorize distributions as native or non-native.
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© Missouri Botanical Garden, 4344 Shaw Boulevard, St. Louis, MO 63110 USA

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Localities documented in Tropicos sources

Aster dumosus L.:
Canada (North America)
United States (North America)

Note: This information is based on publications available through Tropicos and may not represent the entire distribution. Tropicos does not categorize distributions as native or non-native.
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© Missouri Botanical Garden, 4344 Shaw Boulevard, St. Louis, MO 63110 USA

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Ecology

Habitat

Range and Habitat in Illinois

The Rice Button Aster is an uncommon plant that is found primarily in sandy areas of NE Illinois; elsewhere in the state, it is rare or absent. Illinois lies close to the northern range limit of this species. Habitats include dry-mesic sandy savannas, interdunal swales, moist meadows, areas along sandy paths, and abandoned fields. Rather oddly, Rice Button Aster gravitates toward either fairly dry or poorly drained habitats.
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© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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Associations

Flower-Visiting Insects of Rice Button Aster in Illinois

Aster dumosus (Rice Button Aster)
(Bees collect pollen or suck nectar; observations are from Petersen, Moure & Hurd, and Krombein et al. as indicated below; information is limited to bees)

Bees (long-tongued)
Apidae (Apinae): Apis mellifera (Pt); Apidae (Bombini): Bombus bimaculatus (Pt)

Bees (short-tongued)
Halictidae (Halictinae): Agapostemon splendens (MH), Augochloropsis metallica metallica (MH), Halictus ligatus (MH); Andrenidae (Andreninae): Andrena asteroides cp olg (Kr); Andrenidae (Panurginae): Calliopsis coloradensis (Kr)

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Faunal Associations

The nectar and pollen of the flowerheads attract numerous insects, including long-tongued bees, short-tongued bees, wasps, flies, butterflies, skippers, and beetles. Among the bees, honeybees, bumblebees, green metallic bees, dagger bees (e.g., Calliopsis), and oligolectic Andrenid bees (e.g., Andrena asteroides) are known to visit the flowerheads of Rice Button Aster. For many of these insect visitors, Aster spp. (Asters) are an important source of late-season nectar and pollen. Other insects feed on the foliage, suck plant juices, bore through the stalks and roots, or gnaw on the flowerheads and developing seeds. These insects include long-horned beetles, leaf beetles, aphids, leafhoppers, lace bugs, plant bugs, fly larvae (Cecidomyiidae), and caterpillars of butterflies and moths. The Wild Turkey occasionally feeds on the leaves and seedheads, while White-Tailed Deer and the Cottontail Rabbit browse on the foliage.
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Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: NNR - Unranked

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N4 - Apparently Secure

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: T4 - Apparently Secure

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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Cultivation

The preference is full or partial sun, moist to dry-mesic conditions, and sandy soil. Individual plants may lean to the side when they bloom.
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© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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