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Smooth Blue Aster (Aster laevis) has many attractive qualities – they include its adaptability, beautiful flowerheads, attractive foliage, and flowering stems that usually remain erect. It's surprising that this aster is not grown more often in flower gardens. Smooth Blue Aster can be distinguished from other asters (Aster spp.) primarily by the lack of hairs on its smooth foliage and stems; its foliage often has grayish or bluish tints. Other asters tend to have leaves that are hairy or rough-textured, while others have stems with lines of hair. Another distinctive characteristic is the lack of petioles – the leaves of Smooth Blue Aster clasp their stems. As a result of a recent taxonomic change, this aster has been reassigned to a different genus and it is often referred to as Symphyotrichum laeve.

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© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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