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.
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© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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Distribution

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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Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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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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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

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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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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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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Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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