Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Short's Aster - Symphyotrichum shortii   (Lindley) 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(Lindley) G.L. Nesom
DistributionMountains only. Discovered in NC in the past several decades; not known in NC when RAB (1968) was published. There are specimens from Burke and Cherokee counties, plus a report from Transylvania County. Most records have come from Cherokee County, by Ed Schwartzman, who located about 6 sites there, most or nearly all with sizable populations. The Burke County specimen (at BOON) is without label data and without image; it needs vetting.

PA to southern Ont. and MN, south to central GA, MS, and AR; disjunct to northwestern FL. In VA, known only from the extreme northern Piedmont; not in the Mountains there.
AbundanceRare but locally common in parts of Cherokee County; extremely rare elsewhere in the Mountains north to Burke County. Perhaps overlooked. The NCNHP surprisingly ranks it as S2, though it might best be listed as S1S2, as there are only about 7 known records. It is listed as Significantly Rare.
HabitatDry rocky slopes and open slope woodlands, probably limited to rather high pH soils, though soil affinities seem not to have been mentioned.
PhenologyFlowering and fruiting late August-October.
IdentificationShort's Aster grows mostly 2-4 feet tall, with stem leaves that are slender-stalked and lance-shape, essentially entire, tapered to the tip, and with a slightly cordate or notched base of the blade. To many, the shape of the blade recalls leaves of Walking Fern (Asplenium rhizophyllum). S. undulatum has definitely widely-clasping leafstalks (vs. not). S. urophyllum has strongly toothed leaf margins (vs. not or weakly so); that species has a mostly glabrous upper stem, whereas S. shortii has a strongly pilose upper stem, and that species has mostly white rays as opposed to mostly light blue in S. shortii.
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.

A synonym is Aster camptosorus.

Other Common Name(s)None
State RankS2 [S1S2]
Global RankG5
State StatusSR-P
US Status
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