Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Elliott's Aster - Symphyotrichum elliottii   (Torrey & A. Gray) G.L. Nesom
Members of Asteraceae:
Members of Symphyotrichum with account distribution info or public map:
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Section 6 » Order Asterales » Family Asteraceae
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Author(Torrey & A. Gray) G.L. Nesom
DistributionOuter Coastal Plain, rare on the Outer Banks (marsh near Frisco, Dare County). Specimens from the Mountains are all S. puniceum. Ranges inland to Hertford and Duplin counties.

Coastal Plain, southeastern VA to southern FL and LA.
AbundanceUncommon to infrequent in the southern part of the NC range, rare to uncommon in the northern and central parts. Can be numerous in roadside ditches nowadays. As the species is adapting to ditches, its State Rank is best at S3, as it is found in at least 15 counties. This is a Watch List species, but this status can perhaps be dropped.
HabitatWet to moist soils of fresh and fresh-tidal marshes, cypress-gum swamps, and roadside ditches.
PhenologyFlowering and fruiting late September - mid November.
IdentificationElliott's Aster is robust, up to 6 feet tall and often colonial from long horizontal rhizomes. The stems are glabrous, but short pubescent in the inflorescence. Lower leaves have usually dropped by flowering time; stem leaves are elliptical, tapered to the base, with small marginal teeth, and rather rough on the upper surface. Heads are in a branched, spreading, showy inflorescence, the rays long and pale pink to lavender. This is a very attractive plant, especially as it has pink to pink-lavender flowers, whereas most other asters have lavender-blue, pale blue, or white flowers.
Taxonomic CommentsNOTE: The genus Aster was examined by G.L. Nesom (1994), who determined that it was composed of a number of discrete genera (a few of which were already split off by authors as Sericocarpus, Ionactis, etc.). The earliest available name for North American "Aster" is Symphyotrichum, a name regrettably long and hard to spell.

Closely related to Purplestem Aster (S. puniceum), but their ranges do not overlap and that species has bluish-flowers, among a few other features.

Other Common Name(s)Southern Swamp Aster
State RankS2S3 [S3]
Global RankG4
State StatusW1
US Status
USACE-agcpOBL link
USACE-empOBL link
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B.A. SorrieTyrrell County, 2013, moist roadside. Rays pale pink. TyrrellPhoto_natural
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