white heath aster

(Symphyotrichum ericoides var. ericoides)

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List

not listed

white heath aster (var. ericoides)


N5 - Secure

SNR - Unranked


not listed


Great Plains

FACU - Facultative upland


FACU - Facultative upland

Northcentral & Northeast

FACU - Facultative upland




Very common


Dry to moderate moisture. Prairies, meadows. Full sun.


August to October

Flower Color



6 to 36


This is a 6 to 36 tall, erect, perennial forb that rises on a single stem from a creeping rhizome. It is usually found in colonies.

The stem is ascending to erect. It is moderately to densely covered with straight, stiff, sharp hairs that are pressed flat against the stem, making the stem rough to the touch. It is sometimes almost hairless toward the base. It is green when young, becoming grayish-brown to brown when the plant matures.

The leaves are of two types. At the base of the plant the leaves are ½ to 2 long, ½ to 1 wide, inversely lance-shaped or spatula-shaped, with the attachment at the narrow end. They are usually untoothed and rough to the touch. They are rounded at the tip and taper gradually to a narrow base where they are attached to the stem without a leaf stalk. The upper surface is usually sparsely hairy but may be hairless. By the time the plant is in flower the basal leaves have withered. The stem leaves are alternate, numerous, untoothed, rigid, and linear to lance-shaped. Near the base they are ½ to 1½ long and up to wide. They become progressively smaller as they ascend the stem.

The inflorescence is a dense cluster of 1 to 200 flower heads near the top of the plant. The flower heads are mostly on one side of curving, widely-spaced branches.

The flower heads are mostly ¼ to ½ in diameter. The whorl of bracts at the base of the flower head (involucre) is narrowly cup-shaped or nearly cylinder-shaped. Each bract in the involucre has a minute, white to yellowish or purplish spine at the tip. There are 8 to 20 (usually 10 to 18) white, to ¼ long ray florets and 6 to 20 (usually 6 to 12) yellow disk florets. The disk florets become brown with age.

The fruit is a tiny seed-like achene with a tuft of whitish, long hairs at the tip.


Hairy white oldfield aster (Symphyotrichum pilosum var. pilosum) flower heads are larger, mostly 9 16 to ¾ or more in diameter. The involucral bracts are not spine-tipped. The ray florets are longer, 3 16 to long.

Manyflowered aster (Symphyotrichum ericoides var. pansum) rises in a dense cluster of stems from a corm-like caudex. The involucre is broadly bell-shaped. Flowering time is slightly earlier, July to September, rarely October. In Minnesota it has been recorded only in Wilkin County.

Distribution Distribution Map  

Sources: 3, 4, 7, 24, 29, 30.





Asteraceae (aster)









Astereae (aster)


No Rank:

North American clade


white heath aster (Symphyotrichum ericoides)


Aster ciliatus

Aster ericoides

Aster ericoides var. prostratus

Aster exiguus

Aster hebecladus

Aster multiflorus

Aster multiflorus var. ciliatus


Aster multiflorus var. exiguus

Aster multiflorus var. prostratus

Aster polycephalus

Aster scoparius

Lasallea ericoides

Symphyotrichum ericoides var. prostratum

Virgulus ericoides


dense-flower aster

elongate aster

frost aster

heath aster

many-flower aster

many-flowered aster

squarrose white aster


tufted white prairie aster

white aster

white heath aster

white prairie aster

white-wreath aster

wreath aster











A dry, one-chambered, single-seeded fruit, formed from a single carpel, with the seed attached to the membranous outer layer (wall) only by the seed stalk; the wall, formed entirely from the wall of the superior ovary, does not split open at maturity, but relies on decay or predation to release the contents.



A short, thickened, woody, persistent enlargement of the stem, at or below ground level, used for water storage.



A short, solid, vertical, thickened, underground stem that serves as a storage organ.



A whorl of bracts beneath or surrounding a flower or flower cluster.



Long, straight, and narrow, with more or less parallel sides, like a blade of grass.



A horizontal, usually underground stem. It serves as a reproductive structure, producing roots below and shoots above at the nodes.

Visitor Photos
Share your photo of this plant.

This button not working for you?
Simply email us at info@MinnesotaSeasons.com.
Attach one or more photos and, if you like, a caption.

Robert Briggs
  white heath aster (var. ericoides)    
MinnesotaSeasons.com Photos
  white heath aster (var. ericoides)   white heath aster (var. ericoides)
  white heath aster (var. ericoides)    






Visitor Videos
Share your video of this plant.

This button not working for you?
Simply email us at info@MinnesotaSeasons.com.
Attach one or more videos or YouTube links and, if you like, a caption.

Other Videos



Visitor Sightings
Report a sighting of this plant.
This button not working for you?
Simply email us at info@MinnesotaSeasons.com.
Be sure to include a location.

Robert Briggs

Location: Savage Fen SNA

white heath aster (var. ericoides)

MinnesotaSeasons.com Sightings

Afton State Park

Blaine Preserve SNA

Blazing Star Prairie Addition, South Unit

Blue Mounds State Park

Cambria WMA

Carver Highlands WMA, South Unit

Charles A. Lindbergh State Park

Chippewa Prairie

Clinton Prairie SNA

Compass Prairie SNA

Cottonwood River Prairie SNA

Crow-Hassan Park Reserve

Des Moines River SNA

Dodge Nature Center

Felton Prairie SNA, Bicentennial Unit

Foxhome Prairie

French Regional Park

Glacial Lakes State Park

Glendalough State Park

Grey Cloud Dunes SNA

Hole-in-the-Mountain Prairie

Hythecker Prairie SNA

Iron Horse Prairie SNA

Jensen Memorial WMA

Joseph A. Tauer Prairie SNA

Kellogg Weaver Dunes SNA, Weaver Dunes Unit

Kettledrummer Prairie

Kilen Woods State Park

Langhei Prairie SNA

Leif Mountain

Margherita Preserve-Audubon Prairie

McKnight Prairie

Miller Prairie, West Unit

Minnesota Valley NWR, Louisville Swamp Unit

Minnesota Valley NWR, Wilkie Unit

Mound Prairie SNA

Mound Spring Prairie SNA, North Unit

Neal WMA

Northern Tallgrass Prairie NWR, Hoffman Unit

Northern Tallgrass Prairie NWR, Pavia Unit

Northern Tallgrass Prairie NWR, Rengstorf Unit

Northern Tallgrass Prairie NWR, Spieker Unit

Oronoco Prairie SNA

Ottawa Bluffs Preserve

Otter Tail Prairie SNA

Pankratz Memorial Prairie, North Unit

Pembina Trail Preserve SNA, Crookston Prairie Unit

Pembina Trail Preserve SNA, Pembina Trail Unit

Plover Prairie, East Unit

Prairie Bush Clover SNA

Prairie Creek WMA, Koester Prairie Unit

Prairie Smoke Dunes SNA

Regal Meadow

Richard M. & Mathilde Rice Elliott SNA

River Bend Nature Center

River Terrace Prairie SNA

Sand Prairie Wildlife Management and Environmental Education Area

Sandpiper Prairie SNA

Santee Prairie SNA

Savage Fen SNA

Schaefer Prairie

Sedan Brook SNA

Seven Sisters Prairie

Sheepberry Fen

Sibley State Park

Split Rock Creek State Park

Staffanson Prairie

Strandness Prairie

Swedes Forest SNA

Thorson Prairie WMA

Tiedemann WMA

Town Hall Prairie

Tribute WMA

Twin Valley Prairie Addition

Twin Valley Prairie SNA

Two Rivers Aspen Prairie Parkland SNA

Tympanuchus Prairie

Vermillion River WMA

Western Prairie SNA

Whitetail Woods Regional Park

Woodbury WMA

Yellow Bank Hills SNA

Zimmerman Prairie




Last Updated:

About Us | Privacy Policy | Contact Us | © 2020 MinnesotaSeasons.com. All rights reserved.