Purple Aster (7)

Asters are distinguished from daisies by their bracts, which circle the under-side of the flower. Asters have bracts that overlap, like shingles. Daisies have bracts about the same length, like a fence. Asters bloom later in the summer than daisies. There are many asters. Here are a few with darker violet and purple rays. See also White Asters and Pale Asters.

Aster foliaceus apricus

Sunloving Aster
Symphyotrichum foliaceum var. apricum
(Aster foliaceus var. apricus)

Family: Sunflower (Asteraceae)
AKA: Leafy Aster, Alpine Leafybract Aster
Photo taken on: August 12, 2007
Location: Poverty Gulch, GV, CO
Life Zones: Subalpine to alpine
Habitat: Open areas

Grows to 10". Flowers are large (1 ½" across) and have brilliant colors from violet, blue to rose-purple with large, leafy bracts. Leaves are smooth and clasp the stem.

Alpine Leafybract Aster

Dieteria canescens(Machaeranthera)

Hoary Tansyaster
Dieteria canescens (Machaeranthera canescens)

Family: Sunflower (Asteraceae)
AKA: Hoary Aster, Purple Tansy Aster
Photo taken on: August 18, 2007
Location: Walrod Gulch, GV, CO
Life Zones: Foothills to montane
Habitat: Dry areas, roadsides

There are a lot of similarities between Hoary Tansyaster and Bigelow's Tansyaster below. Both grow with spreading branches. This grows to 3ft tall. Bracts are curved out but not as long as Bigelow's. Leaves are narrow. It grows at lower elevations.

Hoary Aster

Dieteria canescens(Machaeranthera)


Photos taken on: September 15, 2014
Location: Abiquiu, NM

Hoary Tansyasters can cover a vast area, as shown below. These photos show lighter violet and white flower heads.

Flora of North America reference.

Hoary Aster

Dieteria bigelovii(Machaeranthera)

Bigelow's Tansyaster
Dieteria bigelovii (Machaeranthera bigelovii)

Family: Sunflower (Asteraceae)
AKA: Tall Tansy Aster, Sticky Aster, Bigelow's Spine Aster
Photo taken on: September 7, 2007
Location: Almont, CO
Life Zones: Foothills to subalpine
Habitat: Disturbed areas, roadsides

Grows to 5ft. Flowers are more violet blue than Hoary Tansyaster above. Bracts and upper stem are sticky and longer. Leaves are more lance-shaped and wider.

Flora of North America reference.

Bigelow's Tansy Aster

Dieteria asteroides

Fall Tansyaster
Dieteria asteroides var. asteroides

Family: Sunflower (Asteraceae)
AKA: New Mexico Tansyaster, Starry Spine Aster
Photo taken on: October 18, 2014
Location: Abiquiu, NM
Life Zones: Plains and foothills
Habitat: Dry areas, roadsides

Fall Tansyaster is very similar to the Hoary Tansyaster and Bigelow's Tansyaster. In Abiquiu they bloomed in the middle of October after the Hoary Aster had gone to seed and succumbed to the first frost (in the background). They were less than 2ft high with a single stem branched at the top and not as widely branched as Hoary Tansyaster. arrow

Dieteria asteroides

 

The leaves at mid-stem are narrow and saw-toothed.  The bracts are long, hairy and curve backwards.

Flora of North America reference.

Symphyotrichum oblongifolium

Aromatic Aster
Symphyotrichum oblongifolium (Aster oblongifolius)

Family: Sunflower (Asteraceae)
AKA: Oblong-leaved Aster
Photo taken on: September 2, 2013
Location: Wet Mountains, Eastern CO
Life Zones: Plains and foothills
Habitat: Dry, open slopes, prairies

Grows with a bushy habit to 18". Leaves are oblong-shaped. At bloom time lower leaves are withered and upper leaves decrease in size to become spreading bracts. Flowers are 1" across or more with yellow flower disks that age to red. The foliage gives a pleasant odor when crushed. This aster is distinguished by its aroma, the spreading narrow bracts and its bushy habit compared to the taller, lanky asters.

Flora of North America reference.

Symphyotrichum spathulatum

Western Mountain Aster
Symphyotrichum spathulatum var. spathulatum

Family: Sunflower (Asteraceae)
AKA:
Photo taken on: July 16, 2013
Location: Slumgullion Pass, West of Lake City, CO
Life Zones: Montane to subalpine
Habitat: Moist conifer forests, stream sides

Grows to 18" with few branches and smooth, lance-shaped basal and stem leaves. The bracts are pointed and green with sometimes purple edges. I think this is Aster occidentalis var. occidentalis which is now renamed to the above.

Flora of North America reference.

Machaeranthera tanacetifolia

Tanseyleaf Tansyaster
Machaeranthera tanacetifolia

Family: Sunflower (Asteraceae)
AKA: Tahoka Daisy, Tanseyleaf Spine Aster
Photo taken on: August 18, 2014
Location: Ghost Ranch, Abiquiu, NM
Life Zones: Plains and foothills
Habitat: Sandy, rocky, disturbed areas, pinyon-juniper

Grows less than 2ft tall. It is also differentiated from the other Tansyasters by the leaves which are pinnately divided with toothed lobes and spiny tips. The purple flower has white at the base of the petals.

Flora of North America reference.

Blue/Purple Single Flowers