Generic delimitation in Astereae has long been a source of disagreement among botanists. The ways in which they treat the large and diverse genus Aster usually reflect their philosophy on generic concepts, and although there are many variations, in general there have historically been two schools of thought. The first approach maintains a very inclusive generic concept of a large genus Aster, with subdivision of the genus into several subgenera. The second approach was to segregate many distinctive small genera from Aster, thus adopting a narrow generic concept As a result of new in-depth studies of phenotype features and, more recently, DNA sequences, combined with reasonably strict adherence to the tenets of phylogenetic systematics, the genus Aster is now much more narrowly and more naturally defined than before. Consequently many of the species, including this one, that were formerly accepted in a looser definition of that genus have now been transferred to several more narrowly defined genera.
Aster bellidiflorus Willd.
Aster coerulescens wootonii (Greene) Wiegand
Aster durus Lunell
Aster eminens Willd.
Aster fluvialis Osterh.
Aster hesperius A.Gray
Aster interior Wiegand
Aster lanceolatus Willd.
Aster lautus Lunell
Aster laxifolius laetifolius Torr. & A.Gray
Aster laxus Willd.
Aster osterhoutii Rydb.
Aster paniculatus polychrous Lunell
Aster simplex Willd.
Aster stenophyllus Lindl. ex DC.
Aster tenuifolius bellidifolius (Willd.) Torr. & A.Gray
Aster tenuifolius ramosissimus Torr. & A.Gray
Aster wootonii (Greene) Greene;
Symphyotrichum hesperium (A.Gray) Á.Löve and D.Löve
Symphyotrichum simplex (Willd.) Á.Löve & D.Löve
Common Name: White Panicle Aster
Symphyotrichum lanceolatum is a herbaceous, perennial plant with a long, thick rhizome growing 30 - 150cm tall. It spreads by the rhizone, sending up individual erect stems at intervals to form a colony of plants[
Mainly known as an ornamental plant, which a number of named varieties, the plant was used traditionally as a medicine by the native N. Americans
N. America - British Colombia to New York, south to California and Florida
Full sun to partial shade, margins of streams, edges of thickets, meadows, fields, ditches; at elevations from sea level to 900 metres or more[
|Pollinators||Bees, Flies, Beetles, Lepidoptera, Self
|Cultivation Status||Ornamental, Wild
Succeeds in most good garden soils[
], preferring one that is well-drained and moisture retentive[
]. Prefers a sunny position[
], but it also succeeds in partial shade[
]. Prefers a rich soil[
], but tolerates poor ones[
There are some named varieties, selected for their ornamental value[
Plants need to be divided every few years, preferably in the spring, in order to keep the plant vigorous[
Most species in this genus seem to be immune to the predations of rabbits[
The flowers attract butterflies and moths, it is also a good bee plant providing nectar in autumn[
An infusion of the plant, combined with another unnamed plant, has been used in the treatment of fevers[
]. A decoction of the plant has been used to dress wounds[
]. The dried and powdered plant has been used as a salve on abrasions[
Smoke from the crushed blossoms has been inhaled in the treatment of nosebleeds[
Seed - surface sow in spring in a cold frame. Do not allow the compost to become dry. Pre-chilling the seed for two weeks can improve germination rates[
]. Germination usually takes place within 2 weeks at 20°c[
]. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in the summer.
Division in spring or autumn[
]. Very easy, larger divisions can be planted straight into their permanent positions whist smaller clumps are best potted up and kept in a cold frame until they are growing away well.
Basal cuttings in late spring. Harvest the shoots when they are about 10 - 15cm long with plenty of underground stem. Pot them up into individual pots and keep them in light shade in a cold frame or greenhouse until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the summer.