Purple-stemmed Aster
Symphyotrichum puniceum
(formerly Aster puniceus)

Purple-stemmed Aster (Symphyotrichum puniceum) Other common names: Glossy-leaved Aster, Swamp Aster

Other scientific names: Aster puniceus, Aster calvus, Aster compactus, Aster condupicatus, Aster demissus, Aster firmus, Aster lucidulus, Symphyotrichum firmum

French names: Aster ponceau

Family: Composite Family (Asteraceae)

Group: Asters

Distinctive features: Purple stem (but not always!). Grows in wet areas. Stem usually somewhat crooked (zig-zag). Relatively large sparse flowers, resembling those of New England Aster.

Similar species:
  •   Rush Aster (Symphyotrichum boreale) - also grows in wet areas, but has very narrow, long leaves.

  •   Smooth Aster (Symphyotrichum laeve) - may also have a purplish stem, but is smooth all over, including the leaves.

  •   Bog Aster (Oclemena nemoralis) - also grows in wet areas, but usually has a single flower at the top of the stem.

  •   New England Aster (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae) - also has numerous ray flowers, and clasping leaves, but grows in drier habitat.

Flowers: Summer, Autumn;  White, Blue/Violet;  7 or more parts (petals);  2.5cm in diameter. Ray flowers: numerous: 30-50, pale blue, mauve, violet, dark blue, or purple. Disc flowers: 30-90, yellow becoming purple.

Leaves: Alternate, Simple, Entire;  Gradually tapering to a base that clasps the stem, partially similar to those of New England Aster. Rough.

Height: 60-150 cm (23-59 in)

Stem: Often reddish-purple (but not always). Usually bristly-hairy, but may be somewhat smooth. Fairly stout.

Habitat: Fields and Open Areas, Wet Areas, Pond Margins, Marshes, Shrub Swamps, Moist Meadows;  Swamps and open wet areas, wet thickets.

Grows in Sun/Shade: Sun

Lifespan: Perennial.  

Books: Newcomb's Wildflower Guide: 456    Peterson's Field Guide to Wildflowers: 356    ROM Field Guide to Wildflowers of Ontario: 191   

Native/Non-native: Native

Status: Very common.

Notes: This Aster grows in wet areas and has an open aspect to it. The stem is usually crooked, and the flowers resemble those of New England Aster. It is fairly common.

For more information visit: Ontario Wildflowers

Photographs: 360 photographs available, of which 15 are featured on this page. SCROLL DOWN FOR PHOTOGRAPHS.

Range Map is at the bottom of the page

Purple-stemmed Aster (Symphyotrichum puniceum)

Purple-stemmed Aster (Symphyotrichum puniceum)

Note the typical disc flowers that start out yellow and gradually turn purple as they age.

Purple-stemmed Aster (Symphyotrichum puniceum)

Closeup of a flower.

Purple-stemmed Aster (Symphyotrichum puniceum)

Closeup of the underside of a flower.

Purple-stemmed Aster (Symphyotrichum puniceum)

Occasionally one will encounter a very pale mauve flower, as seen here.

Purple-stemmed Aster (Symphyotrichum puniceum)

A photo of the top part of a plant. Note the cattails in the background. This Aster grows in wet areas.

Purple-stemmed Aster (Symphyotrichum puniceum)

The overall plant.

Purple-stemmed Aster (Symphyotrichum puniceum)

This photo shows the overall shape and form of Purple-stemmed Aster.

Purple-stemmed Aster (Symphyotrichum puniceum)

Not all of the flowers on a plant will bloom at the same time. Here's one in full bloom while right next to it is one that has already gone to seed.

Purple-stemmed Aster (Symphyotrichum puniceum)

The typical purplish stem. Remember that the stem is not always purple, or just part of it may be pruple.

Purple-stemmed Aster (Symphyotrichum puniceum)

The stem is also usually very hairy, but sometimes is not.

Purple-stemmed Aster (Symphyotrichum puniceum)

The stem is not always purple, either.

Purple-stemmed Aster (Symphyotrichum puniceum)

The leaves partially clasp the stem, resembling those of New England Aster (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae).

Purple-stemmed Aster (Symphyotrichum puniceum)

The leaves are often smooth on top.

Purple-stemmed Aster (Symphyotrichum puniceum)

A nice patch of Purple-stemmed Aster.

Range map for Purple-stemmed Aster (Symphyotrichum puniceum)

PLEASE NOTE: A coloured Province or State means this species occurs somewhere in that Province/State.
The entire Province/State is coloured, regardless of where in that Province/State it occurs.

(Range map provided courtesy of the USDA website and is displayed here in accordance with their Policies)


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