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There are many aster species in Illinois (about 35-38), and this is one of the less common species. In many ways, Many-Rayed Aster resembles the more common Aster drummondii (Drummond's Aster), but the former has larger flowerheads (at least ¾" across) with strongly recurved floral bracts. In contrast, Drummond's Aster (and many other woodland/savanna asters) has flowerheads about ½–¾" across and straight floral bracts. As the common name suggests, Many-Rayed Aster has abundant ray florets (20-35 or more), while other woodland/savanna asters typically have 10-20 ray florets. I am somewhat partial to Many-Rayed Aster because it is easy to grow, the flowerheads are a little larger in size, and they are usually more showy than the flowerheads of other woodland/savanna asters.

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© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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