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Symphyotrichum shortii (Short's aster)
Wasowski, Sally and Andy

Symphyotrichum shortii

Symphyotrichum shortii (Lindl.) G.L. Nesom

Short's Aster

Asteraceae (Aster Family)

Synonym(s): Aster camptosorus, Aster shortii

USDA Symbol: sysh

USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)

Blooming at the same time as Broadleaf Goldenrod (Solidago flexicaulis), this woodland aster can suffuse a Southeastern forest or shady garden in a purple mist of blooms in the autumn. The centers of the flowers start out yellow but turn brick red after pollination. It will self-sow and spread throughout an area, but individual plants are short-lived. It attracts an array of pollinators and seed eaters.


From the Image Gallery

10 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Inflorescence: Head
Size Notes: Up to about 5 feet tall.
Flower: Flower 1 inch across
Fruit: Fruit is a cypsela (pl. cypselae). Though technically incorrect, the fruit is often referred to as an achene.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White , Pink , Yellow , Blue , Purple
Bloom Time: Aug , Sep , Oct
Bloom Notes: Ray flowers blue or purple-blue, occasionally pinkish or white. Disc flowers open yellow but turn dark red after pollination.


USA: AL , AR , FL , GA , IA , IL , IN , KY , MD , MI , MN , MS , NC , OH , PA , TN , VA , WI , WV
Canada: ON
Native Distribution: eastern US, Zones 6 to 8
Native Habitat: Savanna, Forest Edge, Prairie/Meadow/Field, in shaded or partially shaded spots

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist
Soil pH: Acidic (pH<6.8)
Soil Description: rich, acid sands and loams; tolerates lime


Use Ornamental: Flowers add clouds of purple to the shady Southeastern woodland garden.
Use Wildlife: Flowers attract hummingbirds, butterflies, and bees. Seeds attract cardinals, finches, grosbeaks, sparrows, thrashers, towhees, chickadees, nuthatches, titmice, and turkeys.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Attracts: Birds , Butterflies , Hummingbirds
Nectar Source: yes

Value to Beneficial Insects

Special Value to Native Bees

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


Propagation Material: Root Division , Seeds
Seed Collection: Matures in mid- to late fall.
Maintenance: Short-lived so allow to seed out where you want it to continue.

From the National Organizations Directory

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

Mt. Cuba Center - Hockessin, DE

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


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

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