Calico or Starved Aster, Symphyotrichum lateriflorum
(formerly Aster lateriflorus 
what happened?)
Asteraceae or Sunflower Family


Medium plant, 1 to 4 ft tall. Leaves nearly stalkless, lance-shaped, often with a few teeth near middle. Flowerheads small, 1/4 to 1/2 inches wide, with 9 to 15 small white rays and a central yellow disk that markedly turns purple with age. Blooms in autumn.

Native plant of open fields and woodland borders. Occasional in Wildwood, along the bikeway.

There are a number of asters in the Park, and they are often hard to tell apart. Panicled aster (S. lanceolatum) is similar but has longer, narrower leaves and larger flowers. Heath aster (S. pilosum) has much smaller leaves. Other asters in the Park either have heart-shaped leaves or blue to purple flowers, or both.