common panicled aster

(Symphyotrichum lanceolatum var. lanceolatum)

Conservation Status


No image available

  IUCN Red List

not listed


NNR - Unranked

SNR - Unranked


not listed

Wetland Indicator Status
  Great Plains

FACW - Facultative wetland


FAC - Facultative

  Northcentral & Northeast

FACW - Facultative wetland


Common panicled aster (var.lanceolatum) is a 12 to 60 tall, erect, perennial forb that rises on a single stem from a long, slender, branched rhizome. It sometimes forms large, dense colonies.

The stem is erect, straight, stout to slender, and grooved. It is unbranched below the middle. It is green at first, eventually becoming brown and woody near the base. Above the middle it usually has many, sometimes just a few, spreading, ascending branches. It is usually hairless toward the bottom and may have sparsely to moderately dense, longitudinal lines of short, white, spreading or curled hairs toward the top.

Basal leaves are stalkless. The leaf blades are thin, inversely lance-shaped or inversely egg-shaped, up to 3 long, and up to ¾ wide. They are tapered at the base, and rounded or angled at the tip. There is a short, sharp, abrupt point at the tip. The upper and lower surfaces are hairless. The margins are toothed with rounded, forward-pointing teeth, and have a fringe of hairs. Basal leaves are usually withered at flowering time.

Stem leaves are alternate. Lower stem leaves are stalkless or on short, winged, poorly differentiated leaf stalks (petioles). The petioles are winged and sheath the stem at the base. The leaf blades are linear to narrowly lance-shaped, 2 to 6 long, and to ¾ wide. They are wedge-shaped or tapered and sometimes slightly expanded at the base, but they do not clasp the stem. They taper to a point at the tip. The upper and lower surfaces are hairless. The margins are untoothed. The leaves become progressively smaller, narrower, and shorter-stalked as they approach the middle of the stem. Upper stem leaves are stalkless, linear, and 1¼ to 4 long, not much smaller than the middle stem leaves. Lower stem and sometimes some of the larger middle stem leaves are withered by flowering time.

The inflorescence is a branched cluster (panicle) at the end of the stem. The branches of the panicle are relatively sparse, loosely ascending or spreading, and sometimes solitary or more often clustered near the end of the vegetative branch. The appearance is of a few long branches, with no or just a few lateral branches, and the flower heads rising from these long branches. There are 1 to 20 or more flower heads per branch. The heads are oriented in various directions. The flower heads are on 3 16 to 2 long flower stalks (peduncles). They are not subtended by leaf-like appendages (bracts). The inflorescence is more or less leafy but not densely leafy. The leaves are often longer than the peduncles, but are much smaller than the upper stem leaves.

The individual flower head is medium-sized, ¾ to 1 in diameter. The whorl of bracts (phyllaries) at the base of the flower head form a cup-shaped, to 3 16 long cup (involucre). The phyllaries are arranged in 3 to 5 appressed to slightly spreading, overlapping series. They do not have a spine-like tip. Phyllaries in the outer series are to as long as those of the inner series. There are 17 to 47 ray florets and 16 to 38 disk florets. The ray florets are in 1 or 2 series. They are ¼ to ½ long and usually white, sometimes tinged with lavender or blue. The disk florets are yellow at first, eventually becoming purple. The flowers are not fragrant.

The fruit is a dry seed capsule (cypsela) with a tuft of bristles (pappus) attached to the end. The cypsela is egg-shaped, gray to tan, and 1 32to 1 16 long. It has 4 or 5 longitudinal ribs. The pappus is white to off-white.




12 to 60


Flower Color




Similar Species


Broad-leaved panicled aster (Symphyotrichum lanceolatum var. latifolium) middle and upper stem leaves are wider, broadly inversely lance-shaped. The leaf margins are noticeable toothed. The leaves in the inflorescence are about the same size as the upper stem leaves. The inflorescence appears densely leafy. The ray florets are always white.

Hairy-stemmed panicled aster (Symphyotrichum lanceolatum var. hirsuticaule) stem is moderately to densely covered with woolly hairs.

Inland panicled aster (Symphyotrichum lanceolatum var. interior) flower heads are smaller, no more than in diameter, and are closely spaced.

Siskiyou aster (Symphyotrichum lanceolatum ssp. hesperium) heads are usually subtended by large, leaf-like bracts. Phyllaries in the outer series are or more as long as those of the inner series.


Moist. Bottomland forests; margins of streams, lakes and ponds; edges of thickets, meadows, and ditches. Full sun to partial shade.




July to October


Pests and Diseases






Distribution Map



3, 4, 7, 28, 29, 30.









  Kingdom Plantae (green algae and land plants)  
  Subkingdom Viridiplantae (green plants)  
  Infrakingdom Streptophyta (land plants and green algae)  
  Superdivision Embryophyta (land plants)  
  Division Tracheophyta (vascular plants)  
  Subdivision Spermatophytina (seed plants)  
  Class Magnoliopsida (flowering plants)  
  Superorder Asteranae  


Asterales (sunflowers, bellflowers, fanflowers, and allies)  


Asteraceae (sunflowers, daisies, asters, and allies)  
  Subfamily Asteroideae  
  Supertribe Asterodae  
  Tribe Astereae (asters and allies)  
  Subtribe Symphyotrichinae  
  Genus Symphyotrichum (American asters)  
  Subgenus Symphyotrichum (common American asters)  
  Section Symphyotrichum (bushy, eastern, heart-leaved, and old field asters)  
  Subsection Dumosi (bushy asters)  
  Species Symphyotrichum lanceolatum (panicled aster)  
  Subspecies Symphyotrichum lanceolatum ssp. lanceolatum (common panicled aster)  

This and other asters were formerly place in the genus Aster. That genus was problematic, in that it did not include just one common ancestor with all of its lineal descendants and no others – it was not monophyletic. In 1994, the genus Symphyotrichum was resurrected to include most North American asters formerly in the genus Aster.

This is a variety of a subspecies, and some sources list it as Symphyotrichum lanceolatum ssp. lanceolatum var. lanceolatum. The ICN (International Code of Nomenclature for algae, fungi, and plants), the rules governing the naming of plant species, makes it clear that this is not correct. Following ICN rules, a taxa “may also be referred to” with the inclusion of the intervening name (in this case, “ssp. lanceolatum”), but that does not constitute a formal name.


Subordinate Taxa






Aster simplex

Aster lamarckianus

Aster tenuifolius var. ramosissimus

Aster lanceolatus ssp. simplex

Aster paniculatus var. simplex

Aster simplex var. ramosissimus

Aster simplex var. estuarinus

Aster bellidiflorus

Aster laxus

Aster paniculatus

Symphyotrichum simplex

Aster lanceolatus ssp. lanceolatus var. lanceolatus

Aster lanceolatus var. simplex

Symphyotrichum lanceolatum ssp. lanceolatum var. lanceolatum


Common Names


common panicled aster

eastern panicled aster

panicled aster

tall white aster

white panicle aster












Modified leaf at the base of a flower stalk, flower cluster, or inflorescence.



Describing a leaf that wholly or partly surrounds the stem but does not fuse at the base.



A dry, one-chambered, single-seeded fruit, formed from a single carpel, with the seed attached to the membranous outer layer (wall) only by the seed stalk; the wall, formed from the wall of the inferior ovary and also from other tissues derived from the receptacle or hypanthium, does not split open at maturity, but relies on decay or predation to release the contents.



A whorl of bracts beneath or surrounding a flower or flower cluster.



Long, straight, and narrow, with more or less parallel sides, like a blade of grass.



A pyramidal inflorescence with a main stem and branches. Flowers on the lower, longer branches mature earlier than those on the shorter, upper ones.



The modified calyx composed of awns, scales, bristles, or feather-like hairs in plants of the Asteraceae family.



On plants: The stalk of a leaf blade or a compound leaf that attaches it to the stem. On ants and wasps: The constricted first one or two segments of the rear part of the body.



An individual bract within the involucre of a plant in the Asteraceae family.



A horizontal, usually underground stem. It serves as a reproductive structure, producing roots below and shoots above at the nodes.



The lower part of the leaf that surrounds the stem.


Winged leaf stalk

A leaf stalk with a leaf-like or membrane-like extension along both sides.






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