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Sericocarpus asteroides (L.) B.S.P.

Photo: Sericocarpus asteroides

White-topped Aster

Habitat: Open woods and clearings. [Dry barrens (partly forested, upland)]

Range: Southern Maine to Michigan, south to Florida and west to Mississippi.

Aids to Identification: This perennial aster is characterized by its white, sometimes pink, flower clusters with only 4-8 ray flowers (most asters have many more), arranged in flat-topped clusters. At least some of the leaves are toothed with the lower leaves sometimes enlarged. Technical characters for this species include the dense silky hairs on the fruits (cypselas) and the cartilaginous phyllaries.

Photo: Sericocarpus asteroides

Ecological characteristics: Known in Maine to occur in open grasslands.

Phenology: Flowers July - August.

Family: Asteraceae

Synonyms: Formerly known as Aster paternus Cronq., Aster asteroides (L.) MacMillan, and Conyza asteroides L.

Photo: Sericocarpus asteroides

Known Distribution in Maine: This rare plant has been documented from a total of 4 town(s) in the following county(ies): York.

Dates of documented observations are: 1891, 1916, 1986, 1996, 2000

Reason(s) for rarity: At northern limit of range.

Conservation considerations: Heavy all-terrain vehicle use of the sandy habitats where this occurs may be detrimental to the plant populations.