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Symphyotrichum oblongifolium (Aromatic aster)
Bloodworth, Stefan

Symphyotrichum oblongifolium

Symphyotrichum oblongifolium (Nutt.) G.L. Nesom

Aromatic Aster, Aromatic American Aster, Fall Aster, Wild Blue Aster, Shale Aster

Asteraceae (Aster Family)

Synonym(s): Aster kumleinii, Aster oblongifolius, Aster oblongifolius var. angustatus, Aster oblongifolius var. orientis, Aster oblongifolius var. rigidulus, Lasallea oblongifolia, Virgulus oblongifolius


USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

This perennialís rigid stems, usually less than 20 in. tall, are much-branched from the base. The narrow leaves and stems are sparsely covered with short hairs. Flower heads (capitula) are composed of about 30 pistillate and fertile ray florets with rose, lavender-blue or purple laminae surrounding 25-50 yellow bisexual and fertile disc florets, maturing brown or purplish.


From the Image Gallery

38 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Size Notes: Up to about 3 feet tall, often less.
Fruit: Fruit is a cypsela (pl. cypselae). Though technically incorrect, the fruit is often referred to as an achene.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Purple , Violet
Bloom Time: Sep , Oct , Nov


USA: AL , AR , CO , DC , IA , IL , IN , KS , KY , MD , MN , MO , MS , MT , NC , ND , NE , NM , OH , OK , PA , SD , TN , TX , VA , WI , WV , WY
Native Distribution: PA to NC, w. to n.e. WY & TX, s. to Tamaulipas in northeastern Mexico
Native Habitat: Frequent in calcareous prairies of Edwards Plateau and lower plains Country. Well-drained sand, loam, clay, caliche, limestone.

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry , Moist
Cold Tolerant: yes
Heat Tolerant: yes
Soil Description: Rocky, calcareous or sandy soils. Well drained.
Conditions Comments: Fall aster creates dazzling purple mounds in the fall season. It slowly colonizes by stolons, so thin regularly to control it. The plant may "open up" if it gets to top heavy so it is a good idea to keep it thick by pruning it back by no more than half in June. After it goes dormant, wait to cut back to the basal rosette in late fall, early winter.


Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Nectar Source: yes

Value to Beneficial Insects

Special Value to Native Bees
Supports Conservation Biological Control

This information was provided by the Pollinator Program at The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.


Propagation Material: Seeds
Description: Sow seeds, 5/8" deep, outside in fall or provide cold stratification. Also propagated by "softwood" cuttings taken in late spring.
Commercially Avail: yes

Mr. Smarty Plants says

Native flowers for Door County, Wisconsin
September 02, 2009
We recently were required to put in a new septic system on our vacation property in Door County, WI. This left us with a clearing on our wooded lot where the septic field is now located. The installer...
view the full question and answer

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - Austin, TX
Delaware Nature Society - Hockessin, DE
NPSOT - Native Plant Society of Texas - Fredericksburg, TX
Longwood Gardens - Kennett Square, PA
NPSOT - Austin Chapter - Austin, TX
First United Methodist Church of Jefferson City - Jefferson City, TN
NPSOT - Williamson County Chapter - Georgetown, TX
Mt. Cuba Center - Hockessin, DE


Bibref 1620 - Gardening with Native Plants of the South (Reprint Edition) (2009) Wasowski, S. with A. Wasowski
Bibref 946 - Gardening with Prairie Plants: How to Create Beautiful Native Landscapes (2002) Wasowski, Sally
Bibref 318 - Native Texas Plants: Landscaping Region by Region (2002) Wasowski, S. & A. Wasowski
Bibref 1294 - The Midwestern Native Garden: Native Alternatives to Nonnative Flowers and Plants An Illustrated Guide (2011) Adelman, Charlotte and Schwartz, Bernard L.

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Web Reference

Webref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

From the Archive

Wildflower Newsletter 1987 VOL. 4, NO.3 - Fall Planting Highlights the Season, Jubilee Celebration Commences December 1987...

Additional resources

USDA: Find Symphyotrichum oblongifolium in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Symphyotrichum oblongifolium in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Symphyotrichum oblongifolium


Record Modified: 2023-01-27
Research By: TWC Staff

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