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Late purple aster
Symphyotrichum patens by joef80.jpg
In Davidson County, North Carolina
Scientific classification
Genus:
Symphyotrichum
Species:
patens
Distribution of Symphyotrichum patens.png
County-level distribution map of Symphyotrichum patens

Symphyotrichum patens, commonly known as late purple aster or spreading aster, is a perennial wildflower found in the eastern United States.

Description

Sympyotrichum patens is a small (up to ~1m height) herbaceous plant with a spreading growth form. The leaves are ovate to oblong, clasping the pubescent stem. The flowers are relatively small, less than 3 cm (1.2 in) in diameter, with light blue to violet petals and yellow centers. It flowers between August and October.

Taxonomy

The genus Symphyotrichum includes some 90 species that are often highly similar. The title of a review of the Symphyotrichum patens complex begins with "Another review..." as a nod to the complexity of the topic. The species was first formally described as Aster patens in 1789. It was transferred to the genus Symphyotrichum in 1995 by Guy L. Nesom. It is closely related to Symphyotrichum georgianum and Symphyotrichum phlogifolium.

Several varieties have been named:

  • Symphyotrichum patens var. patens
  • Symphyotrichum patens var. gracile (Hook.) G.L.Nesom
  • Symphyotrichum patens var. patentissimum (Lindl.) G.L.Nesom
  • Symphyotrichum patens var. terranigrum J.J.N. Campbell & W.R.Seymour

Distribution and habitat

A widely distributed species, S. patens can be found from southern Maine south and west to East Texas. Plants are typically found in sunny to mostly sunny sites, including open woodlands. Relatively little appears to be known about the species' ecology, with most literature being checklists that include S. patens.

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