Eastern silver aster

Eastern silver aster (Symphyotrichum concolor) blooming at St. Mark’s National Wildlife Refuge. Photo by Alan Cressler, courtesy of Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. Click on terms for botanical definitions. View post as a PDF.

Eastern silver aster(Symphyotrichum concolor) is a winsome wildflower found in Florida’s pineland habitats. It typically blooms in fall but may bloom in summer and early winter (or year-round in South Florida). Its many flowers provide nectar for a variety of butterflies.

Symphyotrichum concolor
Flower buds have purple pubescent bracts. Photo by Eleanor Dietrich.

Eastern silver aster’s flowers consist of lavender to bluish-purple ray florets surrounding a compact center of creamy white disk florets. Anthers are reddish-brown and extended. Leaves are linear and covered with a silky, silvery pubescence (hence its common name of “silver” aster). They are alternately arranged and slightly appressedBracts are pubescent with purplish uppers and green undersides. Fruit is an inconspicuous achene.

Family: Asteraceae (Aster, composite or daisy family)
Native range: Nearly throughout Florida with heavier concentration in Panhandle and north/north-central peninsula
To see where natural populations of Eastern silver aster have been vouchered, visit florida.plantatlas.usf.edu.
Hardiness: Zones 8A–11
Soil: Moist, well-drained sandy or calcareous soil
Exposure: Full sun to minimal shade
Growth habit: 1–3+’ tall
Propagation: Seed
Garden tips: Eastern silver aster is suitable for naturalistic landscapes and restorations. It should be planted with grasses and taller wildflowers to help support its stem. The plant grows in low-nutrient soils and is very drought tolerant.

Eastern silver aster plants are occasionally available from nurseries that specialize in Florida native plants. Visit www.plantrealflorida.org to find a nursery in your area.

For more information on other Symphyotrichum species, see these resources: