Long Stalk Aster
Symphyotrichum dumosum (Linnaeus) G. L. Nesom
Asteraceae (Sunflower) Family
The Bushy Aster is a native herbaceous perennial that is often confused for Frost Aster. It can be found throughout Alabama, growing in a wide variety of habitats, but it most common in wet areas. Its preferred habitat is along rivers and streams, around ponds and lakes, in bogs and swamps, in wet roadside ditches, and in low woods. It is a perennial with long creeping rhizomes and can form large clones. The rhizomes may be thick and woody. Stems are 1 to 5 from each crown, 1 to 3 feet in height, much branched, and easily broken.
The basal and lower stem leaves are usually withered by flowering time; winged-petiolate, spatulate to oblanceolate in outline, with entire or serrate margins. The lower stem leaves are distinctly downward pointing. The upper leaves are sessile, much reduced in size, linear to linear-lanceolate in outline, with entire or serrate margins. All leaves are glabrous or glabrate, often in axillary clusters of small leaves.
The flowers are produced in heads. The heads are arranged in open, stiff panicles. Peduncles are slender and have 5 to 16 or more small leaf-like bracts. Each head has 15 to 33 white or pale blue ray flowers and 15 to 33 yellow disc flowers. The disc flowers turn reddish as they age.
Fruit is an achene.