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Heath Aster


Common Name Heath Aster

Latin Name: Symphyotricum ericoides

[Pronounced: "simm-fee-oh-TRY-kum air-eh-KOH-ih-deez"]

This plant was formerly Aster ericoides

Type of Plant: Forb

Identification Helps: A very common white aster blooming from July through October. Three feet tall, brushy, with typical small, numerous daisy-like flowers.

Similar Species: Flat-top aster, Doellingeria umbellata (Aster umbellatus) has similar white daisy-like flowers, but only at the top of this much taller plant.

Preferred Growing Conditions in the Wild: Grows in many prairie and non-prairie soils and plant communities.

Seasons of Growth and Bloom: Blooms from July through October.

Natural Distribution in Ohio: Heath aster grows commonly and in many habitats in all of Ohio's counties.

Description and General Information: This small, dense white aster is not restricted to prairies. It grows in open woods, ditches, and other sunny, moist habitats. It is more common in young, not fully established prairies.

It should be noted that the common name, "Aster," is no longer a part of any scientific name of any native plant in North America. Until recently, the formal name of this species was Aster ericoides. But modern genetic studies have shown that none of the native "asters" are really closely related to the authentic asters of Eurasia. Consequently, all of the native asters have been placed in new genera, in this case, Symphyotricum.

The common name, "aster," has been retained however.