Asteraceae (Composite Sunflower) Family
Plant is an upright or sprawling perennial with an abundance of narrow leaves. Preferred habitat is roadsides, fence rows, along rail tracks and the margin of bogs. Distribution is throughout the Escambia range.
The leaves are normally about 2 inches long, thin, lance-like to oblong and rough to the touch; no teeth and no lobes. Upper leaves partly clasp the stem. When cultivated in rich soil the leaves may reach six inches or more. Leaf base may have small ears at lower end, which could lead to confusion with the true New England aster or Spreading Aster.
Flowers are many and clustered, about 1-1/4 inch wide. Ray flowers number 20-40 per flower head, symmetrical in shape. Disc flowers are bisexual in nature and yellow. Ray flowers are female only and violet in color. Flowers occur in late summer and early autumn.
Fruit is a seed whose outer layer is fused to it (achene).
To distinguish this aster from its close relative (New England), look at the bracts beneath the flower, which will be whitish-green in color with spreading or backward-curving tips.