Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Annual Saltmarsh Aster - Symphyotrichum subulatum   (Michaux) Nesom
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Section 6 » Order Asterales » Family Asteraceae
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Author(Michaux) Nesom
DistributionOuter Coastal Plain, Outer Banks, and barrier islands.

Maritime -- N.B. and southern ME to southern FL and LA. Records from inland states may represent adventive occurrences to salted roadsides.
AbundanceGenerally common near the coast, but much less numerous around the inner margin of Pamlico Sound (e.g., Beaufort, Pamlico, and Craven counties).
HabitatBrackish marshes, tidal freshwater marshes, moist interdune swales.
See also Habitat Account for Salt and Brackish Marshes
PhenologyFlowering and fruiting September - early November.
IdentificationAnnual Saltmarsh Aster is quite easy to identify, due to its single glabrous stem, linear to narrowly elliptical leaves without teeth, open inflorescences, and heads borne singly on short branches. Each head is small and with white to pinkish or lavender rays barely 3-4 mm long -- easily overlooked completely and can often appear to simply consist of disk florets. Perennial Saltmarsh Aster (S. tenuifolium) -- often growing with it in the same marshes --has ray florets 5-9 mm long.
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)Eastern Saltmarsh Aster, Eastern Annual Saltmarsh Aster
State RankS3S4
Global RankG5
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