calico aster

(Symphyotrichum lateriflorum)



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Symphyotrichum lateriflorum, also known as calico aster or side-flowering aster, is a species of flowering plant in the family Asteraceae. It is native to North America, where it can be found in a variety of habitats, including meadows, prairies, and woodland edges.


Calico aster is a perennial herbaceous plant with a typical height of 2-4 feet (60-120 cm).

The stem is slender, smooth, branch, and reddish-brown. The root system is fibrous and rhizomatous, which allows the plant to spread and form clumps over time.

The leaves are alternate, simple, and lance-shaped to egg-shaped. They are green and can be rough to the touch. They gradually decrease in size up the stem.

The inflorescence consists of numerous small flowers arranged in clusters along the stem. The flowers are about 1 inch (2.5 cm) in diameter and have a yellow center with white to pinkish-purple petals. The petals are usually notched at the tips, and the outer ones are slightly larger than the inner ones. The flowers bloom from late summer to early fall, typically from August to October.

After the flowers have bloomed, they give way to small, dry, brownish-black achenes (seeds) that are dispersed by the wind.


Distribution Map



2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 28, 29, 30.

  Kingdom Plantae (green algae and land plants)  
  Subkingdom Viridiplantae (green plants)  
  Infrakingdom Streptophyta (land plants and green algae)  
  Superdivision Embryophyta (land plants)  
  Division Tracheophyta (vascular plants)  
  Subdivision Spermatophytina (seed plants)  
  Class Magnoliopsida (flowering plants)  
  Superorder Asteranae  


Asterales (sunflowers, bellflowers, fanflowers, and allies)  


Asteraceae (sunflowers, daisies, asters, and allies)  
  Subfamily Asteroideae  
  Supertribe Asterodae  
  Tribe Astereae (asters and allies)  
  Subtribe Symphyotrichinae  
  Genus Symphyotrichum (American asters)  
  Subgenus Symphyotrichum (common American asters)  
  Section Symphyotrichum (bushy, eastern, heart-leaved, and old field asters)  
  Subsection Dumosi (bushy asters)  



This and other asters were formerly place in the genus Aster. That genus was problematic, in that it did not include just one common ancestor with all of its lineal descendants and no others – it was not monophyletic. In 1994, the genus Symphyotrichum was resurrected to include most North American asters formerly in the genus Aster.


Subordinate Taxa


calico aster (Symphyotrichum lateriflorum var. flagellare)

calico aster (Symphyotrichum lateriflorum var. horizontale)

calico aster (Symphyotrichum lateriflorum var. lateriflorum)

calico aster (Symphyotrichum lateriflorum var. spatelliforme)

narrow-leaved calico aster (Symphyotrichum lateriflorum var. angustifolium)

slender-stalked calico aster (Symphyotrichum lateriflorum var. tenuipes)




Aster lateriflorus


Common Names


calico aster

farewell Summer

goblet aster

side-flowering aster

starving aster











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  Calico Aster (Symphyotrichum lateriflorum)
Andree Reno Sanborn
  Calico Aster (Symphyotrichum lateriflorum)  



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