IUCN threat status:

Not evaluated

Comprehensive Description

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This aster is more attractive in woodland areas, where it has a delicate appearance. It closely resembles Aster pilosus (Frost Aster), Aster ericoides (Heath Aster), and other species in the genus with small white flowerheads. The Calico Aster (Aster lateriflorus) is a somewhat lanky plant with smaller flowerheads (about 1/3" across) and fewer ray florets per flowerhead (about 10) than many similar asters (Aster spp.). In this regard, it is similar to the Heath Aster, but the latter species is a more compact plant with leaves that are shorter and more narrow than those of the Calico Aster. While the Heath Aster is often found in open prairies, the Calico Aster usually doesn't stray far from woodland and semi-shaded wetland areas. Its common name refers to the diverse colors of the disk florets as they mature. Another common name of this species is the Side-Flowering Aster, and an alternative scientific name is Symphyotrichum lateriflorum

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© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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