Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Stiff Aster - Ionactis linariifolia   (L.) Greene
Members of Asteraceae:
Only member of Ionactis in NC.
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Section 6 » Family Asteraceae
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Author(L.) Greene
DistributionWidespread in the Coastal Plain, Sandhills, and southeastern Piedmont; less frequent in the upper Piedmont and Mountains.

ME and Que. to WI and KS, south to northern FL and TX.
AbundanceFairly common to common in most of the Coastal Plain, including the Sandhills, and the southeastern Piedmont. Infrequent to locally fairly common in the Mountains and most of the Piedmont; scarce in the extreme northern Coastal Plain.
HabitatDry to xeric, usually sandy, soils of Longleaf Pine-Wiregrass uplands and savannas, pine-deciduous woodlands, rock outcrops, glades, dry openings. This aster grows in about as dry/xeric habitats as any member of this large group.
PhenologyFlowering and fruiting July-October.
IdentificationPlants grow as a clump of stems which radiate outward in many directions, each stem 6 inches to 1.5 feet tall. Leaves are abundant, short (to 1.5 inches long), linear, and sharp-tipped. Heads grow from rather erect branches, are showy, with pale lavender blue rays and bright yellow disks. No other aster looks like this one, and it should be identifiable even without flowers by its abundance of sharp and narrow leaves.
Taxonomic CommentsIn older texts treated as Aster linariifolius.

Other Common Name(s)Flaxleaf Aster, Spruce Aster, Stiffleaf Aster, and several other names. None is in near-unanimous usage.
State RankS5
Global RankG5
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US Status
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B.A. SorrieSandhills Game Land, longleaf pine-wiregrass upland. 11 Oct 2009. RichmondPhoto_natural
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