overlay image

Manitoba Museum

Aster (Asteraceae)

Many-flowered Aster

Symphyotrichum ericoides (L.) Nesom

This prairie perennial blooms late in the year, and sometimes has a bushy heath-like appearance. Plants often form colonies by spreading from underground rhizomes, and are adapted to many types of soil including those in disturbed areas. Flowers have no noticeable scent and attract butterflies, moths, skippers, bees, flies, and beetles. Plants are also fed on by animals such deer, rabbits, livestock, and butterfly/moth larvae. Cultivars of this species have become popular garden plants.

Flower Colour:

  • White

Flowering Season:

  • Summer
  • Fall

Flowering Months:

  • August
  • October
  • September

Canadian Rarity Status:

Not rare. Listed as “exotic” in Quebec.

Physical Appearance:

The hairy stems grow 20-100 cm tall, and are sometimes branching. Leaves are alternate and linear, with smooth edges and fine hairs. Lower leaves usually senesce before flowering. Flowering stems have numerous needle-like bracts, and many flower heads along one side and towards the ends. Each head consists of 5-25 yellow disc florets surrounded by 8-20 white ray florets, backed by 3-5 whorls of narrow bracts. Fruits are ribbed, single-seeded achenes, topped by tufts of white hair-like bristles.

Similar Species:

Western Willow Aster (Symphyotrichum lanceolatum (Willd.) Nesom), White Prairie Aster (Symphyotrichum falcatum (Lindl.)), White Upland Aster

Gardening Notes:

Seeds and/or plants are often available from greenhouses and seed supply companies specializing in native plants. Plants are a good addition to butterfly gardens, and provides colour late in the year.

Canadian Distribution:

  • Alberta
  • British Columbia
  • Manitoba
  • Northwest Territories
  • Ontario
  • Quebec
  • Saskatchewan

Prairie Types:

  • Fescue Prairie
  • Mixed Grass Prairie
  • Tall Grass Prairie


  • Forest Edges
  • Prairies
  • Rocky Slopes
  • Savannahs

Moisture Conditions:

  • Dry
  • Moderate
  • Moist

Light Preference:

  • Full Sun

Soil Preference:

  • Clay
  • Loam
  • Organic
  • Sand
Many-flowered Aster