Calico Aster, Aster lateriflorum

Calico Aster

Aster lateriflorum

Benefits:
Sun Shade:
Bloom Time: Fall
Zones: 4, 5
Soil Conditions: Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil Moisture: Dry, Medium
Color: White
Fragrance: No
Height: 2 - 3 feet
Spacing: 1 foot


Description

Calico Aster (Aster lateriflorum), Side-Flowering Aster, Starved Aster or White Woodland Aster is an herbaceous, somewhat bushy perennial that typically grows to 2-3 feet tall with a slightly smaller spread. It is commonly found in a variety of habitats primarily including forest margins, stream borders, low wet woods, meadows, wet depressions of prairies and roadsides.

Small white flowers bloom in clusters along the branches from mid/late August into October. Each flower has 8-15 white to purple-tinged rays which surround a central disc of 8-16 tiny tubular disk flowers which mature to purplish-red. Achenes are distributed by wind. Long horizontal branches spread out from the main stem, each being clad with rough, narrow, lanceolate, dark green leaves with toothed margins. Leaves turn coppery in late summer. Lower leaves grow to 1 ½ inches wide by 6 inches long. Leaves significantly decrease in size as they ascend the stems.

Easily grown in moist, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Best growth typically occurs in moist, semi-shaded woodland areas. Tolerates full sun in cool summer climates, but appreciates some part shade in climates where summer temperatures consistently exceed 90 degrees F.

Habitats include moist meadows near woodlands and rivers, floodplain forests and flatwoods, woodland borders, seeps and swamps, semi-shaded sloughs near fields, and moist depressions in waste areas. This plant is primarily a woodland species, but it often strays into moist sunny areas nearby. It prefers areas with a history of disturbance.

Plant Notes and Herbal Uses
  Taller plants may need some support.
  Tolerates periodic flooding.
  Stems may be pinched back in late spring to early summer if shorter plants are desired.
Further Information

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 Widsconsin Edible Plants-Eat On The Wild Side
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 Wisconsin Native Plant Nurseries