Symphyotrichum turbinellum — Overview

Smooth Violet Prairie Aster learn more about names for this taxon

IUCN threat status:

Not evaluated

Comprehensive Description

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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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© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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