North Carolina Wildflowers

by Jeffrey S. Pippen | Back to Jeff's Plant Page | Jeff's Nature Pages


Asteraceae (Compositae) > Aster

Large Flower Aster (Symphyotrichum grandiflorum, Aster grandiflorus) Large Flower Aster (Symphyotrichum grandiflorum, Aster grandiflorus)
Orange Co., NC
24 Sep 2004

Most authorities now place many "asters" native to the U.S. into the genus Symphyotrichum. This species is uncommon in NC where it is found scattered across the piedmont and coastal plain. It is endemic to the Carolinas and Virginia.

Large Flower Aster (Symphyotrichum grandiflorum, Aster grandiflorus) Large Flower Aster (Symphyotrichum grandiflorum, Aster grandiflorus)
Chatham Co., NC
2 Oct 2011

Large Flower Aster (Symphyotrichum grandiflorum, Aster grandiflorus) Large Flower Aster (Symphyotrichum grandiflorum, Aster grandiflorus)
Chatham Co., NC
2 Oct 2011

Nectar produced by this aster is appreciated by many species of butterflies, including this Fiery Skipper.

Large Flower Aster (Symphyotrichum grandiflorum, Aster grandiflorus) Large Flower Aster (Symphyotrichum grandiflorum, Aster grandiflorus)
Chatham Co., NC
2 Oct 2011

Large Flower Aster (Symphyotrichum grandiflorum, Aster grandiflorus) Large Flower Aster (Symphyotrichum grandiflorum, Aster grandiflorus)
Chatham Co., NC
2 Oct 2011


Narrowleaf Smooth Aster (Aster concinnus, Symphyotrichum laeve var. concinnus) Narrowleaf Smooth Aster (Aster concinnus, Symphyotrichum laeve var. concinnus)
Edge gravel road in Duke Forest, Durham, NC
27 Sep 2009

Rare in North Carolina, this aster grows in woodlands with high pH soils over mafic rocks.

Narrowleaf Smooth Aster (Aster concinnus, Symphyotrichum laeve var. concinnus) Narrowleaf Smooth Aster (Aster concinnus, Symphyotrichum laeve var. concinnus)
Edge gravel road in Duke Forest, Durham, NC
27 Sep 2009

Narrowleaf Smooth Aster (Aster concinnus, Symphyotrichum laeve var. concinnus) Narrowleaf Smooth Aster (Aster concinnus, Symphyotrichum laeve var. concinnus)
Edge gravel road in Duke Forest, Durham, NC
27 Sep 2009

Narrowleaf Smooth Aster (Aster concinnus, Symphyotrichum laeve var. concinnus) Narrowleaf Smooth Aster (Aster concinnus, Symphyotrichum laeve var. concinnus)
Edge gravel road in Duke Forest, Durham, NC
27 Sep 2009

Stems are mostly glabrous.

Narrowleaf Smooth Aster (Aster concinnus, Symphyotrichum laeve var. concinnus) Narrowleaf Smooth Aster (Aster concinnus, Symphyotrichum laeve var. concinnus)
Edge gravel road in Duke Forest, Durham, NC
27 Sep 2009

Leaves are lanceolate-linear, narrow, nearly sessile, clasping to slightly auriculate.

Narrowleaf Smooth Aster (Aster concinnus, Symphyotrichum laeve var. concinnus) Narrowleaf Smooth Aster (Aster concinnus, Symphyotrichum laeve var. concinnus)
Edge gravel road in Duke Forest, Durham, NC
27 Sep 2009

Narrowleaf Smooth Aster (Aster concinnus, Symphyotrichum laeve var. concinnus) Narrowleaf Smooth Aster (Aster concinnus, Symphyotrichum laeve var. concinnus)
Edge gravel road in Duke Forest, Durham, NC
27 Sep 2009

Click here for more photos of Narrowleaf Smooth Aster.


Late Purple Aster (Aster patens) Late Purple Aster (Symphyotrichum patens) = (Aster patens)
Chatham Co., NC
20 Oct 2005

Late Purple Aster (Aster patens) Late Purple Aster (Symphyotrichum patens) = (Aster patens)
Chatham Co., NC
20 Oct 2005


Eastern Silver Aster (Symphyiotrichum concolor) Eastern Silver Aster (Symphyiotrichum concolor)
Scotland Co., NC
1 Oct 2006

Statewide in NC, more common in the eastern half, this species was formerly Aster concolor.

Eastern Silver Aster (Symphyiotrichum concolor) Eastern Silver Aster (Symphyiotrichum concolor)
Scotland Co., NC
1 Oct 2006

Eastern Silver Aster (Symphyiotrichum concolor) Eastern Silver Aster (Symphyiotrichum concolor)
Scotland Co., NC
1 Oct 2006


Blue Wood Aster, Heartleaf Aster (Symphyotrichum cordifolium, Aster cordifolius) Blue Wood Aster, Heartleaf Aster (Symphyotrichum cordifolium, Aster cordifolius)
Mt. Mitchell State Park, Yancey Co., NC
13 Sep 2008

In NC, common in the mountains and rare elsewhere in the state. Grows in mesic forest edge habitats.

Blue Wood Aster, Heartleaf Aster (Symphyotrichum cordifolium, Aster cordifolius) Blue Wood Aster, Heartleaf Aster (Symphyotrichum cordifolium, Aster cordifolius)
Mt. Mitchell State Park, Yancey Co., NC
13 Sep 2008

Blue Wood Aster, Heartleaf Aster (Symphyotrichum cordifolium, Aster cordifolius) Blue Wood Aster, Heartleaf Aster (Symphyotrichum cordifolium, Aster cordifolius)
Mt. Mitchell State Park, Yancey Co., NC
13 Sep 2008

Blue Wood Aster, Heartleaf Aster (Symphyotrichum cordifolium, Aster cordifolius) Blue Wood Aster, Heartleaf Aster (Symphyotrichum cordifolium, Aster cordifolius)
Mt. Mitchell State Park, Yancey Co., NC
13 Sep 2008

Leaves are alternate and heart-shaped.

Blue Wood Aster, Heartleaf Aster (Symphyotrichum cordifolium, Aster cordifolius) Blue Wood Aster, Heartleaf Aster (Symphyotrichum cordifolium, Aster cordifolius)
Mt. Mitchell State Park, Yancey Co., NC
13 Sep 2008


Purplestem Aster (Aster puniceus, Symphyotrichum puniceum) Purplestem Aster (Aster puniceus, Symphyotrichum puniceum)
Mt. Mitchell State Park, Yancey Co., NC
13 Sep 2008

Common in NC in wet soils in various habitats.

Purplestem Aster (Aster puniceus, Symphyotrichum puniceum) Purplestem Aster (Aster puniceus, Symphyotrichum puniceum)
Mt. Mitchell State Park, Yancey Co., NC
13 Sep 2008

Purplestem Aster (Aster puniceus, Symphyotrichum puniceum) Purplestem Aster (Aster puniceus, Symphyotrichum puniceum)
Mt. Mitchell State Park, Yancey Co., NC
13 Sep 2008

Purplestem Aster (Aster puniceus, Symphyotrichum puniceum) Purplestem Aster (Aster puniceus, Symphyotrichum puniceum)
Mt. Mitchell State Park, Yancey Co., NC
13 Sep 2008

Stems are reddish purple and hairy, and the midribs of the leaf undersurfaces also hairy.

Purplestem Aster (Aster puniceus, Symphyotrichum puniceum) Purplestem Aster (Aster puniceus, Symphyotrichum puniceum)
Mt. Mitchell State Park, Yancey Co., NC
13 Sep 2008

Purplestem Aster (Aster puniceus, Symphyotrichum puniceum) Purplestem Aster (Aster puniceus, Symphyotrichum puniceum)
Mt. Mitchell State Park, Yancey Co., NC
13 Sep 2008


New York Aster (Aster novi-belgii) New York Aster (Symphyotrichum novi-belgii, Aster novi-belgii)
Dare Co., NC
4 Nov 2005

A common aster in the NC coastal plain in savannahs, marshes, wet dunes, and pine lands. Ray flower color is variable from nearly white to bluish-violet.

New York Aster (Aster novi-belgii) New York Aster (Symphyotrichum novi-belgii, Aster novi-belgii)
Dare Co., NC
4 Nov 2005

New York Aster (Aster novi-belgii) New York Aster (Aster novi-belgii)
Dare Co., NC
4 Nov 2005

Growing at the edge of a Phragmites marsh in the back dunes at the north end of Pea Island on the Outer Banks.


Frost Aster, Hairy White Oldfield Aster, Hairy Aster (Symphyotrichum pilosum, Aster pilosus) Frost Aster, Hairy White Oldfield Aster, Hairy Aster (Symphyotrichum pilosum, Aster pilosus)
Brunswick Co., NC
29 Oct 2006

Common statewide in NC in a variety of open, often disturbed habitats.

Frost Aster, Hairy White Oldfield Aster, Hairy Aster (Symphyotrichum pilosum, Aster pilosus) Frost Aster, Hairy White Oldfield Aster, Hairy Aster (Symphyotrichum pilosum, Aster pilosus)
Brunswick Co., NC
29 Oct 2006
Frost Aster, Hairy White Oldfield Aster, Hairy Aster (Symphyotrichum pilosum, Aster pilosus) Frost Aster, Hairy White Oldfield Aster, Hairy Aster (Symphyotrichum pilosum, Aster pilosus)
Brunswick Co., NC
29 Oct 2006

Eastern Annual Saltmarsh Aster (Symphyotrichum subulatum) Eastern Annual Saltmarsh Aster (Symphyotrichum subulatum, Aster subulatus)
Hyde Co., NC
16 Sep 2006

Common in tidal marshes along the NC coast.

Eastern Annual Saltmarsh Aster (Symphyotrichum subulatum) Eastern Annual Saltmarsh Aster (Symphyotrichum subulatum, Aster subulatus)
Hyde Co., NC
16 Sep 2006


Wavyleaf Aster (Symphyotrichum undulatum, Aster undulatus) Wavyleaf Aster (Symphyotrichum undulatum, Aster undulatus)
Duke Forest, Orange Co., NC
15 Oct 2006

Common in NC along dry woodlands, roadbanks, etc.

Wavyleaf Aster (Symphyotrichum undulatum, Aster undulatus) Wavyleaf Aster (Symphyotrichum undulatum, Aster undulatus)
Duke Forest, Orange Co., NC
15 Oct 2006

Wavyleaf Aster (Symphyotrichum undulatum, Aster undulatus) Wavyleaf Aster (Symphyotrichum undulatum, Aster undulatus)
Duke Forest, Orange Co., NC
15 Oct 2006

Note clasping stem leaves and pubescent stems.

Wavyleaf Aster (Symphyotrichum undulatum, Aster undulatus) Wavyleaf Aster (Symphyotrichum undulatum, Aster undulatus)
Duke Forest, Orange Co., NC
15 Oct 2006

Thanks to Harry LeGrand for ID of this aster.


Southern Swamp Aster, Savannah Grass-leaved Aster (Eurybia paludosa) Southern Swamp Aster, Savannah Grass-leaved Aster (Eurybia paludosa, Aster paludosus)
Scotland Co., NC
1 Oct 2006

Common in NC in the coastal plain in savannas, sandhills, pososin edges, etc.

Southern Swamp Aster, Savannah Grass-leaved Aster (Eurybia paludosa, Aster paludosus)
Pender Co., NC
13 Sep 2009
Southern Swamp Aster, Savannah Grass-leaved Aster (Eurybia paludosa) Southern Swamp Aster, Savannah Grass-leaved Aster (Eurybia paludosa, Aster paludosus)
Scotland Co., NC
1 Oct 2006

Southern Swamp Aster, Savannah Grass-leaved Aster (Eurybia paludosa) Southern Swamp Aster, Savannah Grass-leaved Aster (Eurybia paludosa, Aster paludosus)
Scotland Co., NC
1 Oct 2006

Southern Swamp Aster, Savannah Grass-leaved Aster (Eurybia paludosa) Southern Swamp Aster, Savannah Grass-leaved Aster (Eurybia paludosa, Aster paludosus)
Scotland Co., NC
1 Oct 2006

Note the grass-like leaves.


Slender Aster  (Eurybia compacta, Aster gracilis) Slender Aster (Eurybia compacta, Aster gracilis)
Craven Co., NC
27 Aug 2006

Found in the eastern half of NC, Slender Aster is endemic to the southeastern US coastal plain and grows in dry soils, often sandy, and often near pines.

Slender Aster  (Eurybia compacta, Aster gracilis) Slender Aster (Eurybia compacta, Aster gracilis)
Craven Co., NC
27 Aug 2006
Slender Aster  (Eurybia compacta, Aster gracilis) Slender Aster (Eurybia compacta, Aster gracilis)
Pender Co., NC
13 Sep 2009
Slender Aster  (Eurybia compacta, Aster gracilis) Slender Aster (Eurybia compacta, Aster gracilis)
Pender Co., NC
13 Sep 2009
Slender Aster  (Eurybia compacta, Aster gracilis) Slender Aster (Eurybia compacta, Aster gracilis)
Craven Co., NC
27 Aug 2006

Bigleaf Aster (Aster macrophyllus, Eurybia macrophylla) Bigleaf Aster (Aster macrophyllus, Eurybia macrophylla)
Mt. Mitchell State Park, Yancey Co., NC
13 Sep 2008

In NC, found in various forested habitats at mid to high elevations in the mountains.

Bigleaf Aster (Aster macrophyllus, Eurybia macrophylla) Bigleaf Aster (Aster macrophyllus, Eurybia macrophylla)
Mt. Mitchell State Park, Yancey Co., NC
13 Sep 2008

Bigleaf Aster (Aster macrophyllus, Eurybia macrophylla) Bigleaf Aster (Aster macrophyllus, Eurybia macrophylla)
Mt. Mitchell State Park, Yancey Co., NC
13 Sep 2008

Leaves are large for an Aster.

Bigleaf Aster (Aster macrophyllus, Eurybia macrophylla) Bigleaf Aster (Aster macrophyllus, Eurybia macrophylla)
Mt. Mitchell State Park, Yancey Co., NC
13 Sep 2008


Stiff Aster, Flaxleaf Whitetop Aster (Ionactis linariifolius, Aster linariifolius) Stiff Aster, Flaxleaf Whitetop Aster (Ionactis linariifolius, Aster linariifolius)
Pender Co., NC
16 Oct 2011

Statewide in NC, uncommon to common in places.

Stiff Aster, Flaxleaf Whitetop Aster (Ionactis linariifolius, Aster linariifolius) Stiff Aster, Flaxleaf Whitetop Aster (Ionactis linariifolius, Aster linariifolius)
Pender Co., NC
16 Oct 2011

Stiff Aster, Flaxleaf Whitetop Aster (Ionactis linariifolius, Aster linariifolius) Stiff Aster, Flaxleaf Whitetop Aster (Ionactis linariifolius, Aster linariifolius)
Pender Co., NC
16 Oct 2011

Stiff Aster, Flaxleaf Whitetop Aster (Ionactis linariifolius, Aster linariifolius) Stiff Aster, Flaxleaf Whitetop Aster (Ionactis linariifolius, Aster linariifolius)
Pender Co., NC
16 Oct 2011

Leaves linear and stiff, at right angles to the stem.

Stiff Aster, Flaxleaf Whitetop Aster (Ionactis linariifolius, Aster linariifolius) Stiff Aster, Flaxleaf Whitetop Aster (Ionactis linariifolius, Aster linariifolius)
Pender Co., NC
16 Oct 2011


Whorled Aster, Whorled Wood Aster (Aster acuminatus, Oclemena acuminata) Whorled Aster, Whorled Wood Aster (Aster acuminatus, Oclemena acuminata)
Mt. Mitchell State Park, Yancey Co., NC
13 Sep 2008

Common in the NC mountains along the edges of forest streams.

Whorled Aster, Whorled Wood Aster (Aster acuminatus, Oclemena acuminata) Whorled Aster, Whorled Wood Aster (Aster acuminatus, Oclemena acuminata)
Mt. Mitchell State Park, Yancey Co., NC
13 Sep 2008

Whorled Aster, Whorled Wood Aster (Aster acuminatus, Oclemena acuminata) Whorled Aster, Whorled Wood Aster (Aster acuminatus, Oclemena acuminata)
Mt. Mitchell State Park, Yancey Co., NC
13 Sep 2008

Note long acuminate leaf tips.

Whorled Aster, Whorled Wood Aster (Aster acuminatus, Oclemena acuminata) Whorled Aster, Whorled Wood Aster (Aster acuminatus, Oclemena acuminata)
Mt. Mitchell State Park, Yancey Co., NC
13 Sep 2008


Aster sp. Unknown Aster from a bog in Alleghany Co., NC
1 July 2006
Aster sp. Unknown Aster from a bog in Alleghany Co., NC
1 July 2006


Annotated habitat and distribution information listed above is from Radford, Ahles, & Bell. 1968. Manual of the Vascular Flora of the Carolinas. UNC Press; and from personal observations and discussions with Will Cook, Harry LeGrand, and Bob Wilbur. Common names from personal experience and supplemented by the following resources USDA plants website, Flora of the Carolinas, Virginia, and Georgia, and NatureServe.


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Created on May 7, 2006 | jeffpippen9@gmail.com