Carnegiea gigantea, Giant Saguaro

Southwest Desert Flora

Home to the plants of the Sonoran, Chihuahuan and Mojave Deserts

Cirsium ochrocentrum, Yellowspine Thistle

Symphyotrichum ericoides var. ericoides, White Heath Aster

Symphyotrichum ericoides var. ericoides, White Heath Aster, Southwest Desert Flora Symphyotrichum ericoides var. ericoides, White Heath Aster, Southwest Desert Flora Symphyotrichum ericoides var. ericoides, White Heath Aster, Southwest Desert Flora

Scientific Name: Symphyotrichum ericoides var. ericoides
Common Name: White Heath Aster
Also Called: White Aster, White Prairie Aster
Family: Asteraceae, Sunflower Family
Synonyms: (Aster ericoides, Aster exiguous, Aster multiflorus, Aster polycephalus, Lasallea ericoides, Symphyotrichum ericoides var. prostratum, Virgulus ericoides)
Status: Native
Duration: Perennial, rhizomes
Size: Up to 3 feet or more.
Growth Form: Forb/herb, herbaceous Perennial; usually colonial, typically 1 stem with branchlets above, erect or ascending or (decumbent), branched, bushy, rough and covered with hairs (strigose).
Leaves: Green; alternate; lower leaves larger, rough, wither at bloom; upper stem leaves linear or lanceolate, progressively smaller, numerous, rigid, sessile, margins entire.
Flower Color: White showy; ray flowers white, disk flowers yellow, daisy-like flower heads are numerous small and densely clustered; 100 or more on top of the plant, typically on one side of the stem, loosely spaced branchlets; fruit is an achene with a tuft of white bristles.
Flowering Season: August to November, responds to summer monsoons.
Elevation: Above 3,500 feet.

Habitat Preferences: Various habitats across range, pastures, sunny or semi-sunny areas, dry or moist meadows, prairies, roadsides and rocky or sandy soils.

Recorded Range: This species is found primarily in the eastern half on the United States and Canada. Arizona represents the western most limits for White Heath Aster where it is found in the northern and southern parts of the state.

North America & US County Distribution Map for Symphyotrichum ericoides var. ericoides.

U.S. Weed Information: Symphyotrichum ericoides var. ericoides is listed in: Weeds of Nebraska and the Great Plains. Plants included here may become weedy or invasive.

Invasive/Noxious Weed Information: No data available.

Wetland Indicator: Symphyotrichum ericoides var. ericoides is listed on the USDA 2012 National Wetland Plant List.

Threatened/Endangered Information: The state of Tennessee has listed Symphyotrichum ericoides var. ericoides, White Heath Aster as Threatened.

Genus Information: 90 species in Symphyotrichum. 10 species in Arizona. 3 varieties in Symphyotrichum ericoides, 2 varieties in Arizona;
Symphyotrichum ericoides var. pansum, Manyflowered Aster and
Symphyotrichum ericoides var. ericoides, White Heath Aster.

Comments: White Heath Aster is a common aster that is very easy to identify once you know the plant. Variety ericoides is by far the widest spread variety and it is found throughout the entire range of the parent species. It is weedy in some areas, cultivated in others and designated with the protection status of threatened in Tennessee.

In Arizona, it can found in middle to upper elevations where it is usually associated with a reliable supply of moisture and is common especially along roadsides. It is a food and nectar source for a wide range of butterflies, bees and other insects.

Date Profile Completed: 07/12/2012, rev. 08/18/2012; Updated, 07/26/2015, updated format 10/11/2017
U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service on-line database
Luc Brouillet, John C. Semple, Geraldine A. Allen, Kenton L. Chambers, Scott D. Sundberg, FNA, Family List, FNA Vol. 20, Asteraceae, Symphyotrichum, Flora of North America Editorial Committee, eds. 1993+. Flora of North America North of Mexico. 16+ vols. New York and Oxford. (accessed 08/18/2012)
SEINet for synonyms, scientific names and recorded geographic locations
Tennessee Natural Heritage Program. 2002. Rare plant list (20 October 2002). Department of Environment and Conservation, Tennessee.