smooth blue aster

(Symphyotrichum laeve var. laeve)

Conservation Status
smooth blue aster (var. laeve)
 
  IUCN Red List

not listed

     
  NatureServe

N5 - Secure

SNR - Unranked

     
  Minnesota

not listed

     
           
Wetland Indicator Status
     
  Great Plains

FACU - Facultative upland

     
  Midwest

FACU - Facultative upland

     
  Northcentral & Northeast

FACU - Facultative upland

     
           
 
Description
 
 

The stem is smooth and hairless or nearly hairless, often reddish, and often covered with a whitish, waxy bloom (glaucous).

Lower stem leaves are on winged petioles and the base of the blade is never heart-shaped. Middle stem leaves clasp the stem at the base and are less than 5 times as long as wide. Upper stem leaves are stalkless. The upper and lower leaf surfaces are smooth and hairless or nearly hairless. They sometimes have a grayish or bluish tint.

The bracts of the involucre (phyllaries) have a long, green, diamond-shaped tip. The flower head has 15 to 30 lavender, light blue, or purple ray florets.

The tuft of feathery hairs at the tip of the achene (pappus) is usually light brown, often reddish.

 
     
 

Height

 
 

12 to 36

 
     
 

Flower Color

 
 

Blue to purple

 
     
 

Similar Species

 
 

Geyer’s aster (Symphyotrichum laeve var. geyeri) green tips of the phyllaries are lance-shaped, not diamond-shaped.

 
     
 
Habitat
 
 

Dry to moderate moisture. Prairies, woods. Full to partial sun.

 
     
 
Ecology
 
 

Flowering

 
 

August to October

 
     
 
Use
 
 

 

 
     
 
Distribution
 
 

Distribution Map

 

Sources

3, 4, 7, 24, 28.

 
  1/31/2014      
         
 

Nativity

 
 

Native

 
         
 

Occurrence

 
 

Common

 
         
 
Taxonomy
 
  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 (dicots)  
  Superorder Asteranae  
 

Order

Asterales (sunflowers, bellflowers, fanflowers, and allies)  
 

Family

Asteraceae (sunflowers, daisies, asters, and allies)  
  Subfamily Asteroideae  
  Supertribe Asterodae  
  Tribe Astereae (asters and allies)  
  Genus Symphyotrichum (aster)  
  Subgenus Symphyotrichum  
  Section Symphyotrichum  
  Species Symphyotrichum laeve (smooth blue 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.

 
       
 

Subordinate Taxa

 
 

 

 
       
 

Synonyms

 
 

Aster falcidens

Aster laevis

Aster laevis var. falcatus

Aster steeleorum

 
       
 

Common Names

 
 

smooth aster

smooth blue aster

 
       

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

Bract

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

 

Clasping

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

 

Glaucous

Pale green or bluish gray due to a whitish, powdery or waxy film, as on a plum or a grape.

 

Involucre

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

 

Pappus

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

 

Phyllary

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

       
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Gregg Rutter
       
  smooth blue aster (var. laeve)    
       
       
MinnesotaSeasons.com Photos
   

Plant

  smooth blue aster (var. laeve)   smooth blue aster (var. laeve)
       

Inflorescence

  smooth blue aster (var. laeve)   smooth blue aster (var. laeve)
       

Flower Heads

  smooth blue aster (var. laeve)   smooth blue aster (var. laeve)
       
       

 

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Gregg Rutter
10/10/2020

Location: Mille Lacs Moraine SNA

smooth blue aster (var. laeve)


     
     
 
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