Calico Aster
Symphyotrichum lateriflorum
Asteraceae (Composite Sunflower) Family

Calico Aster is also known as Starved Aster, White Aster and Farewell Summer Aster.

Plant is an upright or sprawling perennial. Its preferred habitat is fields, thickets, bottom lands and stream banks. Distribution is throughout the Escambia region.

Leaves are 2- to 6 inches long; lance-like to widest at the middle, coarsely toothed, and often twisted. The tip is long pointed and the base is winged (appears to have no leaf stalk).

Flowers are panicle at the tip of a flowering stem, with short axillary branches and many flower heads. The heads are bell-shaped and about 1/4 inch long.  Ray flowers are white, twice as long as the bracts. Disc flowers are yellowish or purple. The the bracts are marked with spindle-shaped green blotches (thus the multi-colors of the heads that account for one of the common names).

Fruit is achene (a seed which outer layer is fused to it).

This is one of a group of closely related white, narrow-leaved Asters which presumably interbreed and are difficult to distinguish. The common name refers to the fact that the heads are at first yellow and later turn purplish-red, so that flowers on one plant, or a single head, may include both colors at the same time.

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