Overview

Comprehensive Description

Comments

This aster is one of the last wildflowers to bloom during the fall. It has attractive flowerheads that are larger than average in size; underneath these flowerheads, the stiffly ascending branches appear nearly naked because their scale-like bracts are so small. The Turbinate Aster can be distinguished from other Aster spp. (Asters) as follows
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Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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Description

This native perennial wildflower is 1½–3' tall and more or less erect, forming occasional side branches. The stems usually have lines of hair, although sometimes they are glabrous; young stems are light to medium green, while older stems become brown. The alternate leaves along these stems are up to 4" long and ¾" across; they are narrowly ovate, lanceolate, or oblanceolate, smooth along the margins, and sessile. The upper surface of each leaf is dark green and hairless. The central stem terminates in a panicle of flowerheads that is usually longer than wide; some of the side stems also produce flowerheads in smaller panicles. The branches of each panicle are stiffly ascending; they are covered with small scale-like bracts. Each flowerhead is about ¾–1½" across, consisting of 15-25 ray florets and a similar number of disk florets. The ray florets are lavender to blue-violet, while the disk florets are yellow to reddish purple. Both kinds of florets are fertile. The base of each mature flowerhead (the involucre) is often shaped like a top or turban (turbinate) and it is about 7-11 mm. in length. The exterior of the involucre is covered with appressed scales (phyllaries) in several series; the apex of each scale is obtuse, rather than pointed. The blooming period occurs during early to mid-fall and lasts about 3 weeks. Each floret is replaced by an achene with a tuft of tawny hairs. This small achene is oblongoid with several ribs and often finely pubescent. On mature plants, the root system consists of a woody caudex with fibrous roots underneath. Occasionally, rhizomes are produced that can form vegetative offsets. Cultivation
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Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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Distribution

Range and Habitat in Illinois

Turbinate Aster is occasional in the southern half of Illinois and absent in the northern half of the state (see Distribution Map). Illinois lies in the NE corner of its range in the United States. Habitats include prairies, savannas, openings in upland woodlands, borders of upland woodlands, thinly wooded slopes and bluffs, cliffs, rocky glades, and roadsides. This species is often found where sandstone, chert, or granite is close to the surface of the ground.
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Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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National Distribution

United States

Origin: Unknown/Undetermined

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Unknown/Undetermined

Confidence: Confident

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Physical Description

Morphology

Description

Perennials, 30–100 cm, cespitose; with thick, branched, woody cau­dices. Stems 1–5+, erect, straight (stout, brittle), glabrous or sparsely hirtellous in lines. Leaves (paler green or bluish green abaxially) firm, margins scabrous, apices mucronate, faces glabrous, abaxial raised midribs scabrous to glabrate; basal withering by flowering, subpetiolate to shortly petiolate (petioles winged, sheathing, coarsely ciliate), blades oblanceolate to oblong-oblanceolate, 45–65 × 5–8 mm, bases cuneate, margins shallowly crenate, strigoso-ciliate, apices acute, obtuse or rounded; proximal cauline withering by flowering, subpetiolate or sessile, blades elliptic-lanceolate to linear-oblanceolate or -lanceolate, 40–120 × 5–20 mm, reduced distally, bases cuneate to slightly attenuate or rounded, slightly clasping, margins serrulate-crenate or entire, apices acute to acuminate; distal sessile, blades oblanceolate or elliptic-lanceolate to linear-lanceolate or linear-oblong, (10–)15–100 × 1–5 mm, gradually reduced distally (more strongly so on branches), bases cuneate or rounded, margins entire, apices acuminate. Heads in open, broad, much ramified, paniculiform arrays, branches ascending to arching, thin, brittle, remotely leafy, rarely sessile. Peduncles long, thin, (1–)4–10(–25) cm, branches to 10 cm, bracts 8–15, regularly spaced but becoming crowded distally, appressed or ascending, linear-oblong to subulate, 1.5–4 mm, grading into phyllaries, mucronulate. Involucres turbinate to cylindro-campanulate, 7–12 mm. Phyllaries in 6–9 series, appressed or ± spreading, shortly oblong-lanceolate to subulate (outer) to linear-oblong or linear (inner), strongly unequal, bases indurate 1 / 2 – 5 / 6 , abaxially rounded, margins scarious, erose, hyaline, sparsely ciliolate distally, green zones oblanceolate to rhombic-oblanceolate, in distal 1 / 6 – 1 / 2 , apices acute (outer) to obtuse or rounded (inner), often callous-mucronulate, faces glabrous. Ray florets 14–20; corollas light blue to lavender or purple, laminae 12–20 × (1–)1.5–2.8 mm. Disc florets 15–20+; corollas yellow turning purple, (4.5–)5–7 mm, tubes slightly shorter than narrowly funnelform throats, lobes triangular, 0.5–1 mm. Cypselae yellow-tan or light brown to gray, obovoid, ± compressed, (1.8–)2–2.8 mm, 2–4-nerved, faces minutely strigillose; pappi whitish to reddish brown, 4.5–6.4 mm. 2n = 96.
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Diagnostic Description

Synonym

Aster turbinellus Lindley, Compan. Bot. Mag. 1: 98. 1835
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Ecology

Habitat

Range and Habitat in Illinois

Turbinate Aster is occasional in the southern half of Illinois and absent in the northern half of the state (see Distribution Map). Illinois lies in the NE corner of its range in the United States. Habitats include prairies, savannas, openings in upland woodlands, borders of upland woodlands, thinly wooded slopes and bluffs, cliffs, rocky glades, and roadsides. This species is often found where sandstone, chert, or granite is close to the surface of the ground.
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Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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Associations

Faunal Associations

The nectar and pollen of the flowers attract various bees, bee flies, butterflies, skippers, and other insects. Bee visitors include honeybees, bumblebees, leaf-cutting bees (Megachile spp.), digger bees (Melissodes spp.), and Halictid bees. The caterpillars of the butterflies Chlosyne nycteis (Silvery Checkerspot) and Phyciodes tharos (Pearl Crescent) feed on the foliage of Aster spp. (Asters); the caterpillars of many species of moths also feed on various parts of asters. Leaf Beetles that often feed on asters include Exema canadensis, Microrhopala xerene, Ophraella pilosa, and Sumitrosis inaequalis. The value of asters to vertebrate animals is somewhat limited. The Wild Turkey sometimes eats the seeds and foliage; White-Tailed Deer and the Cottontail Rabbit also eat the foliage. Photographic Location
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Flower-Visiting Insects of Prairie Aster in Illinois

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In Great Britain and/or Ireland:
Foodplant / parasite
Golovinomyces orontii parasitises live Aster turbinellus

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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: NNR - Unranked

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G4 - Apparently Secure

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Notes

Comments

Symphyotrichum turbinellum is mostly Ozarkian.
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