Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Narrowleaf Whitetop Aster - Sericocarpus linifolius   (L.) Britton, Sterns, & Poggenburg
Members of Asteraceae:
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Section 6 » Order Asterales » Family Asteraceae
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Author(L.) Britton, Sterns, & Poggenburg
DistributionEssentially throughout the state, but scarce in the mountains and apparently absent from the northeastern corner.

MA to southern IN, south to central GA and southeastern LA.
AbundanceCommon over the Piedmont and most of the Coastal Plain; infrequent to fairly common in the southern mountains, but essentially absent in the northern half. Rare to absent in the northeastern Coastal Plain.
HabitatDry to mesic soils of a wide variety of woodlands, such as pine-oak-hickory, oak-hickory-dogwood, Longleaf Pine-oak-Wiregrass (mostly in loamy sand), forest openings, rocky or gravelly slopes, rock outcrops. Usually in partial shade; habitats are nearly the same as for the similar S. asteroides.
PhenologyFlowering and fruiting June-July.
IdentificationOur three species of "whitetop aster" used to be included in the genus Aster. In the field they have a distinct gestalt, due to far fewer ray florets per head (maximum of 6), and these are always white. Narrowleaf Whitetop Aster typically grows 1-2 feet tall, with linear leaves that are characteristically thick, shiny, and dark green above; basal leaves have withered by flowering time. The ray florets are narrower and much longer than in our other 2 species. All 3 species in the genus are common within much of their ranges, and people should easily become familiar with each one.
Taxonomic CommentsFormerly treated as Aster solidagineus.

Other Common Name(s)Flaxleaf Whitetop Aster
State RankS5
Global RankG5
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