SILKY ASTER
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Symphyotrichum sericeum   (Vent. ) G.L. Nesom
[=Aster sericeus Vent.]
McPheson County, Kansas
Perennial
Height: 1-2 feet
Family: Asteraceae - Sunflower Family
Flowering Period:   August, September,October
Also Called: Western silvery aster.
Stems: More or less erect, clustered, wiry, brittle, much-branched, reddish-brown, glabrous below and thinly silky-hairy above.
Leaves: Lower leaves stalked, oblanceolate, shed early; upper leaves persistent, alternate, simple, sessile, elliptic to oblong, .5 to 1.5 inch long, less than .5 inch wide, silvery-white silky pubescent; margins entire.
Inflorescences: Branching clusters of numerous heads; heads 1.5 inches wide; bracts equal or nearly overlapping, tips loose or spreading.
Flowers: Ray florets 14-20, 1/2 to 3/4 inch long, purple-violet or sometimes pinkish; disk florets yellowish brown to rose.
Fruits: Achenes, small, smooth, tipped with white bristles, enclosing small seed.
Habitat: Dry, open, upland sites or occasionally open woods, most abundant in limestone soils.
Distribution: East half of Kansas.
Comments: The plant derives its common name from the silky hairs covering the leaves.
 It is often found with aromatic aster (Symphyotrichum oblongifolium).

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