WILDFLOWERS OF NEW MEXICO

 
 

Multiple stems 8–28-inches tall have broad to flat-topped arrays of showy purple, daisy-like flowers. Note the smooth, hairless leaves that clasp the upper stem, and phyllaries tight against the flower head.


FLOWERS: July–September. Arrays of 15–50 flower heads along upper stem, flower branches (peduncles) hairless or with thin lines of hairs; flower head 1/2–1 inch wide (12–25 mm) with 13–23 petal-like ray flowers dark to pale blue, each ray 1/4–1/2-inch long (7–12 mm), disk flowers yellow. Phyllaries lance-shaped and tightly against the base of the flower head.


LEAVES: Basal leaves oval to spatula-shaped, to 7 3/4-inches long (11.5 cm), usually withered by flowering. Stem leaves alternate; blades oblong to lance-shaped, to 6-inches long (15 cm) and 1 1/4-inch wide (3 cm), smaller up the stem, narrow to linear, lower blades with short or no stems (petioles) or clasp the stem; margins entire to toothed.


HABITAT: Rocky, clay loamy soils, stream sides, mountain meadows; pinyon-juniper, ponderosa-oak, Douglas fir, aspen-spruce-fir forests.


ELEVATION: 6,300–9,600 feet.


RANGE: AZ, CO, NM, UT, widespread across northern U. S.


SIMILAR SPECIES: Leafy-bracted (Alpine) Aster, S. foliaceum, in much the same range, has broad oval leaves and loose rows, oval phyllaries.  Lance-leaf Aster, S. lanceolatum, a wetland obligate in central and northern mountains, has light-colored phyllaries with green tips, large, leaf-like bracts at the base of the peduncle (flower stem), and 1/2-inch wide flower heads with white to dark-blue rays.


NM COUNTIES: North and central mountains of NM in mid- to high-elevation, moist habitats: Bernalillo, Cibola, Colfax, Eddy, Guadalupe, Lincoln, Los Alamos, McKinley, Mora, Otero, Rio Arriba, San Juan, San Miguel, Santa Fe, Sandoval, Torrance, Union, Valencia.

SMOOTH  BLUE  ASTER

SYMPHYOTRICHUM  LAEVE

Aster Family, Asteraceae

Perennial herb

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Hairless, narrow leaves clasp the upper stem.

Phyllaries lance-shaped and tightly against the base of the flower head.

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