Symphyotrichum lanceolatum (Willd.) G. L. Nesom

Remark The words or terms in red (actually dark orange) in the text are defined in a glossary.

sep_01_14c.gthmb can't be loaded. Symphyotrichum lanceolatum is native to North America and has been introduced in Europe. It is an erect perennial plant, quite common in Québec. Its height is variable, depending on the moisture regime and levels of disturbance and can reach up to 5 feet high. The plant has stout stems that are glabrous or hairy; the stems are green on new growth, but eventually become brown and woody in appearance. The plant has a branching growth habit and numerous flowers in leafy panicles. It has long rhizomes that form colonies. It belongs to the Asteraceae family. The plant is an autopolyploid with a number of chromosomes (2n) of 32, 40, 48, 56, or 64; it is then extremely variable and some botanists usually recognize two subspecies, one of them with two, and the other with four varieties; they are: while other botanists prefer to split the species in five varieties:


In classical Greek : so that Symphyotrichum would refer to a plant having fruits with pappus and growing together, the case of the disk florets.

In Latin, the words lanceola or lanciola means small spear, and the adjective lanceolatus means lanceolate, i.e. in the form of a spear; the word if referred to by Æmilius Macer, a Roman didactic poet and a contemporary of Virgil and Ovid; he wrote about plants in Latin verse. The epithet refers to the fact that the leaves of Symphyotrichum lanceolatum are essentially lanceolate.

Common names

Some of the vernacular names of Symphyotrichum lanceolatum are Eastern Line Aster, Lanceleaf Aster, Lance-leaf Aster, White Panicled Aster, Panicled Aster, Tall White Aster, and White-panicle Aster. Its French vernacular names are Aster lancéolé and Aster simple.


Symphyotrichum lanceolatum var. hesperium has also been known as: Symphyotrichum lanceolatum var. hirsuticaule has also been known as: Symphyotrichum lanceolatum var. interior has also been known as: draw_b.jpg can't be loaded. Symphyotrichum lanceolatum var. latifolium has also been known as: Symphyotrichum lanceolatum var. lanceolatum has also been known as:


Symphyotrichum lanceolatum is identified by its: Symphyotrichum lanceolatum is a bit similar to: draw_c.jpg can't be loaded.



Sometimes the foliage becomes purple during the fall in response to cold weather.

Flowers heads



Symphyotrichum lanceolatum is found on damp ground in open fields, along fence rows, ditches, road and rail right-of-ways, along forest margins, in thickets, or along the shores of ponds, lakes, or streams, in partial sun to shade.


The ranges of the hesperium and lanceolatum varieties overlap in the Prairies and in the boreal zone from Alberta to the Clay Belt of northern Ontario. The ranges of the other three varieties do not overlap with that of the hesperium, but they all overlap each other and with the lanceolatum in the Midwest. The maps below show the range (in term of the Canadian provinces and Territories as well as in term of the USA states) for the:

map_na_hes.jpg can't be loaded. The map on the left is the range of the hesperium variety.
The map below, on the right, is the range for the lanceolatum variety.
The map below, on the left, is the range for the three other varieties.
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Symphyotrichum lanceolatum is also found in the Chihuahua and Sonora states of Mexico.


Symphyotrichum lanceolatum is not a serious agricultural weed but may become problematic in neglected fields, poorly managed pastures, and cultivated fields on recently plowed land.

Symphyotrichum lanceolatum is an endangered species in the state of New York.

Symphyotrichum lanceolatum has been used by some North America tribes for medicinal purpose. The Zunis used it as dermatological aid; they made a decoction of plants to dress arrow or bullet wounds, or used dried, pulverized plant for abrasions made by ceremonial mask; they would also inhale crushed blossoms inhaled for nosebleed. The Iroquois used the plant as a febrifuge.


The photos of the gallery were taken either with one of the following: Minolta DiMAGE 7, Canon PowerShot A530, Canon Xt Rebel, usually with the EF-S60mm f/2.8 Macro USM objective, Fujifilm A 610 and EPSON Perfection 1650 (scanner).

The title in the window shows the date when the picture was taken, i.e. jan_30_06... would mean that the photo was taken on the 30th of January, the 06 is for the 6th picture taken that day. The month, day and picture number might be followed by a letter which I use to identify the system used to take the picture.

Click on the thumbnails to get larger view. The original photos are usually in TIFF format, the photos shown are generally in JPEG format, often of reduced dimensions (to fit in a 1600 by 1200 pixels display while leaving a bit of margin) for loading time reduction.

Plants, twigs. stems

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sep_01_03s.mthmb cannot be loaded. The leaves were scanned at 300 dpi, this allows to measure the dimensions of the leaves. oct_18_01s.mthmb cannot be loaded.

Flower heads

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Fructifications, seeds

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