Small, white "asters" of New Jersey

I am not an expert, this is what I've learned so far:

Here is my working guide to white asters (Symphyotrichum sp.)(without heart-shaped leaves) in central and Northern New Jersey. Note that all of these can have purple flowers as well, though uncommonly.

The phyllary bracts are extremely important (the green bits below the "flower")
-Heath aster is the only one with pointy, all-green, divergent bracts
-Calico aster is the only one with very wide-spread, even curved-back disc flowers
-Frost aster is the only one with sort of urn-shaped phyllaries and the only one with green, needle-shaped, spreading bracts that curve away from the stem
-Small white and panicled asters both have green striped bracts (calico has green-tipped, spotted looking bracts). Panicled should not have most bracts spreading.

The number of rays and the size of the rays are important. Heath and calico have smaller flowers with few rays. Small white has small flowers with many rays.

The overall shape of the flower cluster is important. Is it widely branching (branches at 90 degree angles)? (if not, then not heath or small white). Is it one-sided? (if not, then not small white).

Leaves are generally unimportant, but only calico and panicled can have leaves that are not linear.

Publicado por srall srall, 22 de noviembre de 2020

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