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Aster lateriflorus

Common Name of Species: Calico Aster, Starved Aster
Family: Asteraceae

Entry Author:  C. Friedl, Muhlenberg College
Calico asters can be identified and distinguished from other white asters by the middle vein on the leaf.  While the mid-vein on the underside of the leaf is hairy, the rest of the leaf, on top and on the bottom, is very smooth. 
Leaves are 2-6 inches long, in either a lance or elliptical shape, and are coarsely toothed.  The lower leaves have stalks and often fall off while the upper leaves grow directly from the stem, and have no stalk.
Flowers are approximately inches wide, with 9-15 white or purple tinged rays.  Disks can be a variety of colors, ranging from purple to golden and light yellow.
Stems are not completely uniform.  All Stems are erect and slender, although can be branched or not branched, smooth or hairy, and green or purple.
Branching Pattern: Leaves grow alternate to one another.  
Can be as tall as 3 feet.
Conditions/Habitat:  Habitat is versatile, including low woods, wet prairies, swamps, edges of streams, borders of ponds, fields and thickets.
Can be found south of Nova Scotia in northeastern North America.

Niering, W.A., Olmstead, N.C, & Thieret, J.W. (2001). National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Wildflowers Eastern Region (Revised Edition).  New York: Random House Inc.

Newcomb, Lawrence (1977).  Newcomb’s Wildflower Guide.  New York: Little, Brown.

McKenny, M. & Peterson R.T. (1996). Peterson Field Guides: Wildflowers Northeastern/ North-central North America. New York: Houghton Mifflin.

USDA, NRCS (2004). Plants Database, Version 3.05 (  National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874 USA.


This page was created by: C. Friedl, Muhlenberg College
Last updated 12/15/05