WILDFLOWERS OF NEW MEXICO

 
 

The 1–3-foot tall, hairy stem of this bushy, colony-forming plant has multiple erect to arching branches with short branchlets crowded wth flower heads, usually along one side. Note the dense, cylindrical or pyramidal array with dozens numerous small, white, daisy-like flowers with less than 20 rays.


FLOWER: July–October. Flower heads 1/2–1-inch-wide (12–24 mm) with 10–18 white, narrow, petal-like ray flowers, each 1/4–1/2 inch long (6–12 mm); disk yellow. The phyllaries beneath the rays are spin-tipped and  tend to spread or curl back.


LEAVES: Basal and lower stem leaves wither by flowering. Stem leaves alternate, narrow, linear, tipped with tiny spines; surfaces hairy. The upper leaves, 3/8–1 1/2-inches long (10–40 mm) and 1/8-inch wide (6 mm), are crowded on the flowering branchlets. 


HABITAT: Sandy, gravelly alluvial soils, wet meadows, ditches, roadsides; riparian woodlands, short grass prairies, pinyon-juniper, ponderosa forests.


ELEVATION: 3,800–8,000 feet.


RANGE: AZ, CO, NM, TX, UT; widespread from the Mississippi River valley westward.


SIMILAR SPECIES: The look-alike White Prairie Aster, S. falcatum, in much the same range and habitat, has 20–35 white rays, each 3/4–1 1/4-inches long (18–30 mm). Plants in the Symphyotrichum genus were formerly classified as Asters.


NM COUNTIES: Nearly statewide in low- to mid-elevation moist habitats: Bernalillo, Catron, Chaves, Cibola, Colfax, Dona Ana, Eddy, Grant, Guadalupe, Harding, Hidalgo, Lincoln, Los Alamos, McKinley, Mora, Otero, Roosevelt, San Juan, San Miguel, Sandoval, Santa Fe, Sierra, Socorro, Union.

HEATH  ASTER

SYMPHYOTRICHUM  ERICOIDES  VAR.  ERICOIDES   (Aster ericoides)

Aster Family, Asteraceae

Perennial herb

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Phyllaries beneath the rays curl back and are spine-tipped (upper arrow) . Leaves are also spine-tipped (lower arrow). Loose hairs cover the stems.

Flower heads have 10–18 white, petal-like ray flowers.

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