Synonym:  Aster laevis  L.

              

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Plants of dry, upland woods, clearings, fields or roadsides.  Flowers through September into early October.  Native.  Several varieties of S. laeve have been described.  The following two are found in central New York:

Symphyotrichum laeve  (L.)  G.L. Nesom  var.  laeve
Symphyotrichum laeve  (L.)  G.L. Nesom  var.  concinnum (Willd.) G.L. Nesom

Perennials.  Stems are glabrous and often glaucous; solitary or clustered from a woody caudex or from short rhizomes.  Typical height is from 2 to 4 feet.

Flower heads are radiate.  They are clustered along ascending branches in an inflorescence that is usually taller than broad.  Rays are blue-violet, showyDisc floret corollas are yellow, turning reddish-brown with age.  Involucral bracts are glabrous, well-appressedDark green zones are often lance- or diamond-shaped.

Leaves are relatively thick and very smooth, glabrous and glaucous on the lower surface. Stem leaves are variable in shape from narrowly lanceolate/oblanceolate to ovate or broadly elliptical.  Leaf bases are auriculate clasping.  Branch leaflets may be quite small and numerous.

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Similar species:  Symphyotrichum undulatum.

Note:  As descibed in Flora of North America (2006), variety laeve and variety concinnum are distinguished mainly by the leaf length-width ratio, with var. laeve having leaves that are less than 5 times longer than wide, compared with var. concinnum which has leaves more than 5 times longer than wide.  However, I've found populations showing widely variable leaf morphology, including some representative of each of the named varieties.  These two could possibly be better considered as forms, rather than varieties.

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