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Symphyotrichum oblongifolium is often confused with:
Symphyotrichum patens Symphyotrichum patens
Plants that fill a similar niche:
Solidago chilensis Solidago odora in the fall in Moore County
Chrysopsis mariana Chrysopsis mariana
Eurybia divaricata Flowers

Eastern Aromatic Aster Symphyotrichum oblongifolium

Other Common Name(s):

Previously known as:

  • Aster oblongifolius var. angustatus
Phonetic Spelling
sim-fy-oh-TRY-kum ob-long-ee-FOH-lee-um
Description

Aromatic aster is a native perennial wildflower in the Asteraceae (daisy) family.   In nature it is found on rock outcrops and dry woodlands over limestone, and calcareous shale. The common name comes from the balsam-like fragrance it gives off when its rigid stems are crushed.

Plant in the full sun with well drained soil.  Reaching a mature height and width of 3 feet aromatic aster creates dense low mounds.  The showy small purple flowers have a long bloom season lasting from late summer until the first frost.  It propates by its wind dispersed seeds or it can spread by stolons.

Mass pant along a walkway or use in the front of a sunny border.  It is just as at home in a meadow or naturalized area.  This plant is resistant to browsing by deer and rabbits and is both drought tolerant and tolerant of coastal conditions. This is a great substitute to use in place of fall mums.

This plant was selected as the 2000 NC Wildflower of the Year, a program managed by the North Carolina Botanical Garden with some financial support from the Garden Club of North Carolina.

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:  No serious insect or disease problems.  Asters can have some susceptibility to powdery mildew and aster wilt. Poorly-drained clay soils and poor air circulation can contribute to this. Improving drainage and good air circulation helps reduce the incidence of foliar diseases.

 

VIDEO: Part of the Native Plant Picks series from the North Carolina Sea Grant led Coastal Landscapes Initiative.

Profile Video:
See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Fannys'
  • 'Raydons Favorite'
    More compact
'Fannys', 'Raydons Favorite'
Tags:
#drought tolerant#fall flowers#purple flowers#native perennials#blue flowers#low maintenance#rabbit resistant#specialized bees#highly beneficial coastal plants#mounding#NC native#deer resistant#long bloom time#wind dispersed seeds#pollinator plant#naturalized area#poor soils tolerant#border front#food source fall#flowers late summer#food source herbage#food source nectar#food source pollen#walkway planting#food source hard mast fruit#butterfly friendly#flowers early fall#bee friendly#flowers mid-fall#Audubon#meadows#NC Wildflower of the Year#dense growth#coastal
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Fannys'
  • 'Raydons Favorite'
    More compact
'Fannys', 'Raydons Favorite'
Tags:
#drought tolerant#fall flowers#purple flowers#native perennials#blue flowers#low maintenance#rabbit resistant#specialized bees#highly beneficial coastal plants#mounding#NC native#deer resistant#long bloom time#wind dispersed seeds#pollinator plant#naturalized area#poor soils tolerant#border front#food source fall#flowers late summer#food source herbage#food source nectar#food source pollen#walkway planting#food source hard mast fruit#butterfly friendly#flowers early fall#bee friendly#flowers mid-fall#Audubon#meadows#NC Wildflower of the Year#dense growth#coastal
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Symphyotrichum
    Species:
    oblongifolium
    Family:
    Asteraceae
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    U.S.A. to North East Mexico
    Wildlife Value:
    Members of the genus Symphyotrichum support the following specialized bees: Andrena (Callandrena s.l.) asteris, Andrena (Callandrena s.l.) asteroides, Andrena (Cnemidandrena) hirticincta, Andrena (Cnemidandrena) nubecula, Andrena (Callandrena s.l.) placata, Andrena (Callandrena s.l.) simplex, and Colletes simulans.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 1 ft. 0 in. - 3 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 1 ft. 0 in. - 3 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Native Plant
    Perennial
    Habit/Form:
    Dense
    Mounding
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasionally Dry
    Available Space To Plant:
    12 inches-3 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    3a, 3b, 4b, 4a, 5b, 5a, 6b, 6a, 7a, 7b, 8b, 8a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Fruit Type:
    Achene
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    Achenes with small turfs of light brown hair are distributed by the wind. Displays from October to November
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Purple/Lavender
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Head
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Good Cut
    Long-lasting
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Fall
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Radial
    Flower Petals:
    more than 20 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    1-3 inches
    Flower Description:
    1-1.5 inch wide composite flowers have 25-30 blue-purple rays with yellow center disc flowers. The bracts are glandular with long, green, loose, or spreading tips. Blooms from late summer to first frost. One of the last flowers blooming before a heavy frost.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Fragrant
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Oblanceolate
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Width:
    < 1 inch
    Leaf Description:
    2-3 inch long by .5 inch wide simple, clasping, alternate, oblong leaves with entire margins. Become smaller as they ascend the stem. Fragrant when crushed.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Green
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    Yes
    Stem Cross Section:
    Round
    Stem Form:
    Straight
    Stem Surface:
    Hairy (pubescent)
    Stem Description:
    Slightly pubescent round green stems turn brown with age.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Coastal
    Meadow
    Naturalized Area
    Walkways
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Native Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Design Feature:
    Border
    Attracts:
    Butterflies
    Pollinators
    Small Mammals
    Songbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Drought
    Poor Soil
    Rabbits