Symphyotrichum foliaceum (DC.) G.L. Nesom
Family: Asteraceae
alpine leafybract aster
Symphyotrichum foliaceum image
Max Licher  
Perennials 10-60 cm, colonial; long-rhizomatous. Stems 1-5+, ascending to erect, glabrous or sparsely puberulent. Leaves 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. Heads borne singly or in paniculiform arrays, branches ascending, up to 25 cm. Peduncles sparsely hairy, bracts 0-3, lanceolate. Involucres campanulate, 6-16(-20) mm. Phyllaries 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. Ray florets 15-60; corollas violet to purple, laminae 8-18(-20) × 1-2 mm. Disc florets 50-150; corollas yellow, 4-7 mm, lobes triangular, 0.4-1 mm. Cypselae brown, cylindric to obovoid, not compressed, 2.5-4 mm, 3-4-nerved, faces hairy; pappi white to tawny, 5-8 mm. Symphyotrichum foliaceum is extremely variable and is widespread in western montane coniferous forests and subalpine meadows.

General: Perennial, 10-60 cm tall, highly variable in size, colonial; stems 1-5 or more, ascending to erect, glabrous to sparsely puberulent; rhizomes long, creeping. Leaves: Basal (usually persistent) and cauline, alternate, oblanceolate or elliptic to obovate, 3-20 cm long, 8-25 mm wide, reduced upwards, usually glabrous, sometimes sparsely pubescent, margins entire to sometimes sharply toothed; basal and lower cauline blades petiolate to nearly sessile, upper cauline blades sessile, often clasping at the base. Flowers: Heads 10-200 or more, borne in raceme-like to panicle- like arrays; involucre campanulate, 5-8 mm long, 7-9.5 mm wide; phyllaries numerous in 3-4 series, the outer oblanceolate-spatulate, the inner linear-lanceolate, sparsely to densely strigose; ray flowers mostly 20-35, 8-30 mm long, usually white, sometimes blue or pink; disk flowers 18-30, 2-2.5 mm long, yellow; flowers August- October. Fruits: Achene, 2.5-4 mm long, cylindric to obovoid, 3-4 veined, brown, pubescent; pappus of 25-40 minutely barbed bristles, 5-8 mm long, white to tan. Ecology: Coniferous forests, mountain meadows, alpine and subalpine habitats; 2300-3700 m (7500-12000 ft); Apache, Coconino, Gila, Greenlee, Mohave, Navajo, and Yavapai counties; western Canada, western U.S., Mexico. Notes: Four varieties occur in North America, two of which occur in our region: var. apricum and var. canbyi. Plants of var. apricum are 5-20 cm tall, with usually solitary heads and nearly equal, narrowly lanceolate, purple- tinged phyllaries. Its distribution is primarily in alpine to subalpine habitats. Variety canbyi is taller (20-60 cm tall) with more-or-less clasping leaf bases, usually 5-20 heads, and unequal phyllaries, blunt to rounded, with the outer ones surpassing the inner. Its distribution is primarily in montane meadows, open slopes, and wooded areas. Editor: Springer et al. 2008
Symphyotrichum foliaceum image
Tony Frates  
Symphyotrichum foliaceum image
Max Licher  
Symphyotrichum foliaceum image
Max Licher  
Symphyotrichum foliaceum image
Max Licher  
Symphyotrichum foliaceum image
Max Licher  
Symphyotrichum foliaceum image
Max Licher  
Symphyotrichum foliaceum image
Max Licher  
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