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Crooked Run Valley
late purple aster (Symphyotrichum patens)
late purple aster
Aster patens Aiton
Lasallea patens (Aiton) Semple & L. Brouillet
Virgulus patens (Aiton) Reveal & Keener
CONFIRMATION STATUS: Pending confirmation.
TAXONOMY: The currently accepted scientific name for later purple aster is Symphyotrichum patens (Aiton) G.L. Nesom var. patens.
NATIVE STATUS: Native, United States.
GENERAL BOTANICAL CHARACTERISTICS:
Habit: Later purple aster is an upright (often stout, light to dark brown) plant that typically grows to 2.5' tall on slender, usually hairy, brittle stems. These asters spread by suckers to widths that often equal their height. Plants may grow in clumps.
Leaves: Later purple aster leaves are simple (i.e., lobed or unlobed but not separated into leaflets), light to dark green, thick and often stiff (margins flat, sometimes undulate) with an alternate leaf arrangement. There is one leaf per node along the stem. Leaves are oblong to lance shaped, hairy, deep green and become smaller as they ascend the plants. The alternating leaves nearly encircle the stem. It looks almost as if the stem runs through the leaf. The leaves are lance shaped, untoothed and short.
Flowers: The flower heads are about 1" across and contain roughly 15 "petals" (technically they are called ray flowers). The color is a deep violet to blue-purple (with each containing several fused petals) and the central "disc" flowers are tiny, densely packed, and usually bright yellow. If you look at these flowers near dusk, the brightly contrasting discs appear to glow in the dim light. Late purple asters blossom in profusion, with solitary flowers simultaneously crowning each of their stems.
Fruits/Seeds: a dry, single-seeded fruit formed from a double ovary, of which only one develops into a seed, dull purple or brown, obovoid to oblong-obovoid, not compressed, 2–3.5 mm, 7–10-nerved (faint), covered with a layer of small silky hairs or set with stiff, slender bristles.
Roots: Later purple aster has short, thick, woody caudices, tangled or sometimes cormoid, and long rhizomes.
REGENERATION PROCESS: Later purple aster propogates itself by reseeding.
HABITAT TYPES: Late purple aster occurs in open woodlands and dry fields rocky or sandy open woods, thickets and glade margins
It can be found in dry areas, along roadsides, fields or waste places.
SITE CHARACTERISTICS: Later purple aster prefers average, dry to medium, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. It tolerates some shade and drought.
SKY MEADOWS DISTRIBUTION: To be determined.
IMPORTANCE AND USES: Fauna and flora information for late purple aster is limited to bees. Long tongued bees are attracted to late purple aster, including species of Apis mellifera (European honey bee), Bombus impatiens (common eastern bumble bee), Ceratina calcarata (spurred ceratina), Ceratina strenua (nimble ceratina), Melissodes subillata (long-horned bee), Xylocopa virginica (eastern carpenter bee), and Coelioxys sayi (Say's cuckoo-leaf-cutter). Short-tongued bees include Augochlora pura (pure green augochlora), Halictus ligatus, and Lasioglossum quebecense.