Symphyotrichum puniceum (L.) A. & D. Löve

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

sep_19_08.gthmb can't be loaded. Symphyotrichum puniceum, also known as Aster puniceus, is an erect native perennial forb. The species has two varieties : The plant belongs to the Asteraceae family.


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

In Latin, puniceus means purple so that Symphyotrichum puniceum means Purple Symphyotrichum; this is a bit true as far as the stem is concerned, but not that true of the flower heads that are usually lilac, pale violet or pale blue.

As far as the old genus name is concerned, in Greek, αστηρ (aster) means star, and the genus name refers then to the shape of the flower head.

Common names

Some of the vernacular names of Symphyotrichum puniceum are: Bristly Aster, Shining Aster, Glossy-leaved Aster, Purple-stem Aster, Purplestem Aster, Red-stalked Aster and Swamp Aster. (In French the vernacular name is Aster ponceau).


Symphyotrichum puniceum has also been known as: with such a profusion of synonyms due to the large distribution of the plant ?


Symphyotrichum puniceum is not too difficult to identify by its usually purple stems, its clasping leaves, and its showy lilac to pale blue ray flower heads that are around 1/2 inch across. Symphyotrichum novae-angliae (Aster novae-angliae) is a bit similar, but its flower head are of a darker color. Oclemena nemoralis (Aster nemoralis) is also bit similar, but it is always light pink, never blue, is of smaller size and lives in bogs.



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Flower heads



Swamps, rich woods, wet open areas, stream banks, pond margins, springs and swampy or boggy places


map_na.jpg can't be loaded. Symphyotrichum puniceum var. puniceum is found in eastern and middle North America, from Newfoundland to North Dakota, south to Georgia, Alabama, Nebraska. In Canada it is in fact found in all the provinces.


The roots are are said to be diaphoretic, emmenagogue and febrifuge. A decoction has been used in the treatment of colds, consumption, typhoid, pneumonia and fevers. A decoction has been used to promote menstruation, that can lead to an abortion. The decoction has also been used to restore a woman to health after giving birth. The chewed root has been applied to an aching tooth to allay the pain.


The photos of the gallery were taken either with one of the following: 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:

and if there is no letter it's obviously the Minolta.

Click on the thumbnails to get larger view. The original photos are usually in TIFF format, the photos shown are generally in JPEG format, usually of dimension one half (surface one quarter) for loading time reduction.

Plants, stems, phyllaries and leaves

The picture on the right was scanned at 300 dpi, and then its dimensions were reduced by one half (one quarter area).

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