Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Perennial Saltmarsh Aster - Symphyotrichum tenuifolium   (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(L.) Nesom
DistributionOuter Coastal Plain, Outer Banks, and other barrier islands.

Maritime -- southern ME to central FL and southeastern TX.
AbundanceFairly common to frequent, to locally common. Seems to be slightly less numerous than the closely related S. subulatum, which often grows with it.
HabitatSalt marshes, brackish marshes, tidal freshwater marshes.
See also Habitat Account for Salt and Brackish Marshes
PhenologyFlowering and fruiting September - mid-November.
IdentificationPerennial Saltmarsh Aster is quite easy to identify, due to its single glabrous and usually zig-zag stem, linear leaves without teeth, open inflorescences, and heads borne singly on short branches. Each head is small and with white to pinkish or lavender rays 5-9 mm long. Annual Saltmarsh Aster (S. subulatum) is quite similar but has ray florets only 3-4 mm long, at times seemingly lacking.
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.

Other Common Name(s)None
State RankS3? [S3S4]
Global RankG5
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