E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Canadanthus modestus (Lindl.) G.L. Nesom
great northern aster
Asteraceae (Aster family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Bryan Kelly-McArthur  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #79367)

E-Flora BC Static Map
Distribution of Canadanthus modestus
Click here to view our interactive map and legend
Details about map content are available here
Click on the map dots to view record details.

Species Information

Click on the image below to view an expanded illustration for this species.

Perennial herb from a creeping rhizome; stems erect, solitary, branched above, with spreading, long hairs and stalked glands, at least above, 0.3-1.0 m tall.
Basal leaves smaller than the others, usually deciduous by flowering time; stem leaves lanceolate, 5-15 cm long, 1-4 cm wide, unstalked, more or less clasping, glabrous above, sparsely hairy beneath, margins smooth to few toothed.
Heads with ray and disk flowers, few to many in a branched, leafy, usually short inflorescence, bases glandular; involucres 7-11 mm tall; involucral bracts equal or subequal, linear to linear-lanceolate, with long-pointed tips, densely stalked-glandular, the outer leaflike, the inner often purplish; ray flowers 20-45, purple or violet, 8-15 mm long; disk flowers yellow.
Achenes strongly 5-ribbed, sparsely hairy; pappus whitish to yellowish.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

USDA Species Characteristics

Flower Colour:
Blooming Period:
Fruit/Seed characteristics:
Colour: Brown
Present from Summer to Fall
Source:  The USDA

Habitat / Range

Moist to mesic meadows, streambanks, shrub thickets and forests in the lowland and montane zones; common throughout most of BC; N to AK, YT and NT, E to ON and S to MI, MN, MT, ID and OR.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Canadanthus modestus

The table below shows the species-specific information calculated from
original data (BEC database) provided by the BC Ministry of Forests and Range.
(Updated August, 2013)

Site Information
Value / Class




Elevation (metres) 0 944 2005
Slope Gradient (%) 0 6 85
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
0 194 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
1 5 8
Modal Nutrient Regime
Number of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class
All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in: BG(1), BWBS(8), CWH(26), ESSF(98), ICH(158), IDF(35), MH(3), MS(35), PP(3), SBPS(28), SBS(300), SWB(1)


The climate type for this species, as reported in the: "British Columbia plant species codes and selected attributes. Version 6 Database" (Meidinger et al. 2008), is not evaluated, unknown or variable.

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Aster major (Hook.) Porter
Aster modestus Lindl.
Aster unalaschkensis var. major Hook.
Weberaster modestus (Lindl.) A. Löve & D. Löve

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References