Synonym:  Aster lowrieanus  Porter

              

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

Flower heads are radiate.  Rays are white to pale blue-violet.  Disc floret corollas are pale yellow, turning magenta with age.  Involucral bracts are well-appressed, glabrous.  Dark green zones are oblanceolate or diamond-shaped.

Basal and lower stem leaves may sometimes be present at flowering.  When present basal leaves vary from heart-shaped to ovate, and are borne on long, winged-petioles.  Bases of the non-heart-shaped leaves may be truncated, wedge-shaped or rounded.  Mid- to upper stem leaves are ovate or lance-ovate and taper to broad, winged petioles.  In general leaves are glabrous and glaucous on lower surfaces.

Plants of dry open woods or clearings.  Flowers mid-September to mid-October.  Native...

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Similar species:  Symphyotrichum cordifolium and S. urophyllum.

S. lowrieanum is not recognized by some authorities (Flora of North America, 2006).  The reason given is that the type specimen for S. lowrieanum was determined to be conspecific with S. cordifolium.  Nevertheless, this taxon, at least in its pure form, is quite distinctive.  Its mid- to upper stem leaves, and even some lower stem leaves, lack the basal sinuses so prevalent in S. cordifolium.  Leaf outlines of S. lowrieanum are more similar to the leaves of S. urophylum than they are to the leaves of S. cordifolium, which are mostly heart-shaped throughout.  The leaves of S. lowrieanum are often somewhat thicker, very smooth and glaucous on the undersides - character states not found in the other two species.

When they co-occur, S. lowrieanum may hybridize with S. cordifolium, producing offspring with variously intermediate character states, making identification harder.  Most of the hybrid plants I've seen are morphologically more similar to S. cordifolium, and thus may have led to much confusion over the years.

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