Ontario Wildflowers website

Panicled Aster
Symphyotrichum lanceolatum
(formerly Aster lanceolatus)

Panicled Aster (Symphyotrichum lanceolatum) Other common names: Lance-leaved Aster, White Panicle Aster

Other scientific names: Aster lanceolatus, Aster hesperius, Aster paniculatus, Aster simplex

French names: Aster simple

Family: Composite Family (Asteraceae)

Group: Asters

Distinctive features: Open spreading form. Dead stem leaves very curly.

Similar species:
  •   Heath Aster (Symphyotrichum ericoides)

  •   Frost Aster (Symphyotrichum pilosum) - Stem very hairy, resembles frost (although there is a variety that is not hairy!).

  •   Calico Aster (Symphyotrichum lateriflorum)

Flowers: Summer, Autumn;  White;  7 or more parts (petals);  1-2cm in diameter. Ray flowers: 16-47, usually white. Disc flowers: 20-40, whitish to yellowish, turning purple. Flowers spread out, not on one side of the stem.

Leaves: Alternate, Simple, Entire;  Long and narrow, lance-shaped. Dead leaves along the stem tend to be very curly, as in a spiral. Lower leaves usually gone by flowering. The biggest leaves are in the upper middle of the stem.

Height: Up to 100 cm (39 in)

Habitat: Forests, Fields and Open Areas, Meadows;  Moist low areas, open or forested.

Grows in Sun/Shade: Sun

Lifespan: Perennial.  

Books: Newcomb's Wildflower Guide: 456    Peterson's Field Guide to Wildflowers: 94   

Native/Non-native: Native

Status: Common.

Notes: A very common Aster. Identify it by the curly dead leaves.

Origin and Meaning of Names:
 Scientific Name: lanceolatus: lance-shaped

Photographs: 234 photographs available, of which 15 are featured on this page. SCROLL DOWN FOR PHOTOGRAPHS.

Range Map is at the bottom of the page

Panicled Aster (Symphyotrichum lanceolatum)

Panicled Aster flowers grow in an open sparse manner along the branches.

Panicled Aster (Symphyotrichum lanceolatum)

But sometimes the flowers appear to be closely packed, giving rise to confusion for the novice with Heath Aster (Symphyotrichum ericoides).

Panicled Aster (Symphyotrichum lanceolatum)

The flowers are usually white.

Panicled Aster (Symphyotrichum lanceolatum)

The underside of the flowers.

Panicled Aster (Symphyotrichum lanceolatum)

And sometimes the flowers can appear rather ragged.

Panicled Aster (Symphyotrichum lanceolatum)

Panicled Asters have an open, spreading aspect to them.

Panicled Aster (Symphyotrichum lanceolatum)

The dead leaves along the stem tend to be very curly.

Panicled Aster (Symphyotrichum lanceolatum)

These curly dead leaves are a distinctive identifying feature of Panicled Aster.

Panicled Aster (Symphyotrichum lanceolatum)

And here's more of these dead curly leaves.

Panicled Aster (Symphyotrichum lanceolatum)

Panicled Asters have many small lance-shaped leaves along their stems.

Panicled Aster (Symphyotrichum lanceolatum)

Upper surface of a leaf.

Panicled Aster (Symphyotrichum lanceolatum)

Underside of a leaf.

Panicled Aster (Symphyotrichum lanceolatum)

A whole Panicled Aster plant.

Panicled Aster (Symphyotrichum lanceolatum)

Going to seed in early October.

Panicled Aster (Symphyotrichum lanceolatum)

Let's finish off with a photo of Panicled Aster flowers coated with a heavy dew early in the morning in late September.

Range map for Panicled Aster (Symphyotrichum lanceolatum)

PLEASE NOTE: A coloured Province or State means this species occurs somewhere in that Province/State.
The entire Province/State is coloured, regardless of where in that Province/State it occurs.

(Range map provided courtesy of the USDA website and is displayed here in accordance with their Policies)