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Montana Field Guide

Montana Field Guides

Leafy-bracted Aster - Symphyotrichum foliaceum
Other Names:  Aster foliaceus

Native Species

Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S5

Agency Status
MNPS Threat Rank:
C-value: 5

External Links

General Description
Rhizomatous perennial. Stems ascending to erect, 6–80 cm. Herbage glabrate, sparsely hairy on stems. Leaves basal (often deciduous) and cauline; blades ovate to lanceolate, 2–15 cm long, entire; the lower with broad petioles, sometimes sessile and clasping above. Inflorescence leafy paniculate with 1 to several heads; peduncles glabrous, puberulent or villous. Involucre campanulate, 6–15 mm high; phyllaries: outer lanceolate to oblanceolate, green, white-margined, sometimes foliaceous; inner narrower. Rays 15 to 60, blue or violet; ligules 6–18 mm long. Disk flowers 50 to 150, yellow; corollas 4–7 mm long. Achenes cylindric, 2–4 mm long, hairy (Lesica 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX).

The three varieties in Montana include foliaceum, apricum (A. Gray) G.L. Nesom, and parryi (D.C. Eaton) G.L. Nesom. Lesica (2012) also treats S. cusickii (A. Gray) P. Lesica (ined.) as a variety of this species.

Species Range
Montana Range


Range Comments
BC, AB south to CA, AZ and NM (Lesica 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX).

Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations: 348

(Click on the following maps and charts to see full sized version) Map Help and Descriptions
Relative Density



(Observations spanning multiple months or years are excluded from time charts)

Moist areas across a wide elevational range (Hitchcock & Cronquist 1973; Dorn 1984) (Lesica 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX).

  • Additional ReferencesLegend:   View Online Publication
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    • Joslin, G.J. 1975. Behavior and environmental selection by Elk (Cervus canadensis nelsoni) during surrmer and fall in the First and Second Yellow Mule drainages, Madison County, Montana. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, Montana: Montana State University, Bozeman. 65 p.
    • Lesica, P., M.T. Lavin, and P.F. Stickney. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. Fort Worth, TX: BRIT Press. viii + 771 p.
    • Martinka, R.R. 1970. Structural characteristics and ecological relationships of male blue grouse (Dendragapus obscurus (Say)) territories in southwestern Montana. Ph.D Dissertation. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 73 p.
    • Simanonok, M. 2018. Plant-pollinator network assembly after wildfire. Ph.D. Dissertation. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 123 p.
    • Williams, K.L. 2012. Classification of the grasslands, shrublands, woodlands, forests and alpine vegetation associations of the Custer National Forest portion of the Beartooth Mountains in southcentral Montana. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 376 p.
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Citation for data on this website:
Leafy-bracted Aster — Symphyotrichum foliaceum.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from