Ontario Wildflowers website

Fringed Blue Aster
Symphyotrichum ciliolatum
(formerly Aster ciliolatus)

Fringed Blue Aster (Symphyotrichum ciliolatum) Other common names: Ciliolate Aster, Lindley's Aster

Other scientific names: Aster ciliolatus, Aster lindleyanus, Aster maccallae, Aster saundersii, Aster subgeminatus, Aster wilsoni, Aster wilsonii, Symphyotrichum subgeminatum

French names: Aster ciliolée

Family: Composite Family (Asteraceae)

Group: Asters

Distinctive features: Lower leaves look like a cross between those of Heart-leaved Aster and Arrow-leaved Aster. Flowers have long pale blue rays, and are sparsely arranged. Stem smooth. Fields.

Similar species:
  •   Heart-leaved Aster (Symphyotrichum cordifolium)

  •   Purple-stemmed Aster (Symphyotrichum puniceum)

  •   Large-leaved Aster (Eurybia macrophylla)

  •   Azure Aster (Symphyotrichum oolentangiense)

  •   Arrow-leaved Aster (Symphyotrichum urophyllum)

Flowers: Summer, Autumn;  Blue/Violet;  7 or more parts (petals);  2.5-3cm in diameter. Ray flowers: 16, long, pale to deep blue. Disc flowers: 20-35, yellow becoming purple. Flowers sparse in arrangement.

Leaves: Alternate, Simple;  Sort of heart-shaped lower on the stem. Easily confused with Arrow-leaved Aster and Heart-leaved Aster. Lance-shaped and smaller higher up on stem.

Height: Up to 1 m (1-3 ft)

Stem: Smooth.

Habitat: Forests, Fields and Open Areas;  Open woods and meadows in poor soils. The photos on this page were taken along an old railway embank.

Grows in Sun/Shade: Sun, Shade

Lifespan: Perennial.  

Native/Non-native: Native

Status: Somewhat common.

Notes: This is a hard Aster to identify for the novice. It resembles several other Aster species. A novice might be better off leaving this species till they have more experience.

Photographs: 134 photographs available, of which 15 are featured on this page. SCROLL DOWN FOR PHOTOGRAPHS.

Range Map is at the bottom of the page

Fringed Blue Aster (Symphyotrichum ciliolatum)

Some flowers in the morning after a rain. Pretty blue!

Fringed Blue Aster (Symphyotrichum ciliolatum)

Overall plant, mid-September in the James Bay region of Quebec.

Fringed Blue Aster (Symphyotrichum ciliolatum)

Here's a small Fringed Blue Aster, showing its lower leaves. The flowers (rays, or "petals") are pale blue and fairly long.

Fringed Blue Aster (Symphyotrichum ciliolatum)

View of a whole plant.

Fringed Blue Aster (Symphyotrichum ciliolatum)

Another view of the overall shape and form of the plant. Note the sparse, open aspect of the flowers. There's lots of space between individual flowers. The stem is mostly smooth, with perhaps a few hairs in the very upper portion.

Fringed Blue Aster (Symphyotrichum ciliolatum)

The lower leaves - arrow-shaped and sharply toothed. Note how these lower leaves look like a cross between those of Heart-leaved Aster (Symphyotrichum cordifolium) and Arrow-leaved Aster (Symphyotrichum urophyllum). This is a distinctive feature of this Aster.

Fringed Blue Aster (Symphyotrichum ciliolatum)

Another lower leaf.

Fringed Blue Aster (Symphyotrichum ciliolatum)

Upper stem leaves. Note that they do not clasp the stem.

Fringed Blue Aster (Symphyotrichum ciliolatum)


Fringed Blue Aster (Symphyotrichum ciliolatum)

Close-up of a flower. The discs are yellow at first.

Fringed Blue Aster (Symphyotrichum ciliolatum)

The discs later turn purple.

Fringed Blue Aster (Symphyotrichum ciliolatum)

A group of flowers at the top of a Fringed Blue Aster. This species of Aster likes to grow in open woods and meadows. Some of the specimens featured on this page were found at the edge of a forest along an abandoned railway line near Drumbo, Ontario, at the end of September.

Fringed Blue Aster (Symphyotrichum ciliolatum)

Another view of a small plant.

Fringed Blue Aster (Symphyotrichum ciliolatum)

Closeup of a single flower (actually a flower head, composed of disc and ray flowers).

Fringed Blue Aster (Symphyotrichum ciliolatum)

Side view of a flower. This plant was on the Bruce Peninsula in early September.

Range map for Fringed Blue Aster (Symphyotrichum ciliolatum)

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)