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

Symphyotrichum ericoides (L.) G.L. Nesom
White Heath Aster (Rayless Alkali Aster; tufted white prairie aster)
Asteraceae (Aster family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Bryan Kelly-McArthur  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #89279)

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Distribution of Symphyotrichum ericoides
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Symphyotrichum ericoides var. pansum

Species Information

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Perennial herb from a fibrous-rooted short rhizome or branched, woody stem-base; stems ascending, much branched and hairy above, 30-200 cm tall.
Basal leaves soon deciduous; stem leaves numerous, linear, short-haired to glabrate, rough-margined, often spine-tipped, 2-7 cm long, 1-6 mm wide.
Heads with ray and disk flowers, usually numerous in a branched open inflorescence, tending to become one-sided on the recurving branches; involucres 4-7 mm tall; involucral bracts graduated, outermost spreading and spoon-shaped, the others mostly linear, spine-tipped, with a whitish base and firm green tips, often hairy on the margins and back; ray flowers 12-30, white, 3-8 mm long; disk flowers yellow.
Achenes appressed-hairy; pappus white to straw-colored.
Aster ericoides ssp. pansus is easily confused with A. falcatus which has a similar ecology and distribution. The former, however, has numerous flowers borne on the recurved-ascending branches while the latter has flowers usually borne singly on the ends of the branches.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Mesic to dry grasslands, shrublands, alkaline flats, rocky slopes, disturbed areas and open forests in the lowland, steppe and montane zones; common in SC and SE BC, less frequent in NE BC, rare on S Vancouver Island; N to YT and NT, E to MB and S to UT, AZ and OR.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Symphyotrichum ericoides

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) 320 877 1301
Slope Gradient (%) 0 7 70
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
0 200 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
1 4 7
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(19), ICH(2), IDF(57), PP(11), SBPS(1)

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Aster ericoides

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References