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This aster has a rather ordinary appearance and it is often omitted in many wildflower guides. Ontario Aster resembles several other Aster spp. (asters) with small white flowerheads and they often occur in the same or similar habitats. In general, Ontario Aster can be distinguished from these other species by the even pubescence of its stems and the even canescence (short fine pubescence) on the underside of its leaves. Other similar asters have stems with lines of hair and the undersides of their leaves are either hairy along the central veins or hairless. The flowerheads of Ontario Aster have 15-25 ray florets and its floral bracts are evenly green from top to bottom. Other similar asters may have fewer ray florets (10-15) and/or each of their floral bracts has a diamond-shaped pattern near its tip that is dark green. Ontario Aster also has an abundance of leafy green bracts along the branches of its panicles, while the bracts of other asters are smaller in size and more scale-like in appearance. Sometimes Ontario Aster hybridizes with similar species of asters, which increases the difficulty of identification.

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© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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