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Symphyotrichum tenuifolium (Perennial saltmarsh aster)
Smith, R.W.

Symphyotrichum tenuifolium

Symphyotrichum tenuifolium (L.) G.L. Nesom

Perennial Saltmarsh Aster, Saltmarsh Aster

Asteraceae (Aster Family)

Synonym(s): Aster tenuifolius

USDA Symbol: SYTE6

USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

A weak straggly plant with widely spreading branches, slender rhizomes, and few flower heads with numerous white or pale purple rays.

Although this perennial aster has few flowers, it forms conspicuous masses in the brackish tidal marshes where all other large-flowered species are absent. Annual Saltmarsh Aster (S. subulatum) has many smaller flower heads, 1/4-1/2" (6-13 mm) wide.


From the Image Gallery

1 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

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

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White , Yellow , Purple
Bloom Time: Jan , Feb , Jul , Aug , Sep , Oct , Nov , Dec
Bloom Notes: Disc florets yellow aging to purple.


USA: AL , CT , DE , FL , GA , LA , MA , MD , ME , MS , NC , NH , NJ , NY , RI , SC , TX , VA
Native Distribution: Maine south along coast to Florida, and west to Texas.
Native Habitat: Salt or brackish marshes.

Value to Beneficial Insects

Special Value to Native Bees

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

National Wetland Indicator Status

This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.

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

Additional resources

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


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

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