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alpine leafybract aster, Canby's leafybract aster, Cusick's American aster, Cusick's aster, Henderson's aster, Kootenai aster, leafy aster, leafy or leafy-bract or alpine leafybract aster, leafy-bract aster, Parry's aster

Habit Perennials 10–60 cm, colonial; long-rhizomatous.

1–5+, ascending to erect, glabrous or sparsely puberulent.


thin, margins entire or sometimes serrate, apices acute to obtuse, faces usually glabrous, sometimes sparsely hairy;

basal usually persistent, petiolate to subpetiolate, blades broadly elliptic to obovate, 30–200 × 8–25(–30) mm, bases attenuate, margins entire or sometimes serrate, apices acute to obtuse;

proximal cauline sessile or subpetiolate, blades elliptic to obovate, 35–120 × 8–25 mm, bases attenuate or cuneate to rounded, sometimes ± clasping, apices acute;

distal sessile, reduced distally, bases cuneate, apices acute.


sparsely hairy, bracts 0–3, lanceolate.


borne singly or in paniculiform arrays, branches ascending, up to 25 cm.


campanulate, 6–16(–20) mm.

Ray florets


corollas violet to purple, laminae 8–18(–20) × 1–2 mm.

Disc florets


corollas yellow, 4–7 mm, lobes triangular, 0.4–1 mm.


in 4–6 series, oblanceolate or oblong (outer) to lanceolate or linear (inner), subequal or unequal (outer exceeding inner), bases outer foliaceous, inner indurate, margins entire, green zones elliptic to lanceolate, apices acute to rounded, faces glabrous or puberulent.


brown, cylindric to obovoid, not compressed, 2.5–4 mm, 3–4-nerved, faces hairy;

pappi white to tawny, 5–8 mm.

Symphyotrichum foliaceum

from FNA
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Varieties 4 (4 in the flora).

Symphyotrichum foliaceum is extremely variable and is widespread in western montane coniferous forests and subalpine meadows.

(Discussion copyrighted by Flora of North America; reprinted with permission.)

1. Plants 5–30 cm; heads 1–12; phyllaries subequal, narrowly lanceolate
→ 2
1. Plants usually 20–60 cm; heads usually 5–20; outer phyllaries exceeding inner, wider, often foliaceous
→ 3
2. Plants 5–20 cm; heads usually borne singly; phyllaries often purple-tinged; alpine or sub- alpine habitats
S. foliaceum var. apricum
2. Plants 10–30 cm; heads usually 1–12; phyllaries green; montane to subalpine habitats.
S. foliaceum var. parryi
3. Phyllaries obtuse to rounded; cauline leaves often clasping at base
S. foliaceum var. canbyi
3. Phyllaries acute; cauline leaves sometimes rounded at base, not clasping
S. foliaceum var. foliaceum
Source FNA vol. 20, p. 532.
Parent taxa Asteraceae > tribe Astereae > Symphyotrichum > subg. Symphyotrichum > sect. Occidentales
Sibling taxa
S. adnatum, S. anomalum, S. anticostense, S. ascendens, S. boreale, S. bracteolatum, S. campestre, S. chapmanii, S. chilense, S. ciliatum, S. ciliolatum, S. concolor, S. cordifolium, S. cusickii, S. defoliatum, S. depauperatum, S. drummondii, S. dumosum, S. elliottii, S. ericoides, S. eulae, S. falcatum, S. fendleri, S. firmum, S. fontinale, S. frondosum, S. georgianum, S. grandiflorum, S. greatae, S. hallii, S. hendersonii, S. jessicae, S. laeve, S. lanceolatum, S. lateriflorum, S. laurentianum, S. lentum, S. molle, S. nahanniense, S. novae-angliae, S. novi-belgii, S. oblongifolium, S. ontarionis, S. oolentangiense, S. parviceps, S. patens, S. phlogifolium, S. pilosum, S. plumosum, S. porteri, S. potosinum, S. praealtum, S. pratense, S. prenanthoides, S. priceae, S. puniceum, S. pygmaeum, S. racemosum, S. retroflexum, S. rhiannon, S. robynsianum, S. sericeum, S. shortii, S. simmondsii, S. spathulatum, S. subspicatum, S. subulatum, S. tenuifolium, S. tradescantii, S. turbinellum, S. undulatum, S. urophyllum, S. walteri, S. welshii, S. yukonense, S. ×amethystinum
Subordinate taxa
S. foliaceum var. apricum, S. foliaceum var. canbyi, S. foliaceum var. foliaceum, S. foliaceum var. parryi
Synonyms Aster foliaceus
Name authority (Lindley ex de Candolle) G. L. Nesom: Phytologia 77: 282. (1995)
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