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

Introduction to Vascular Plants


© Bryan Kelly-McArthur     (Photo ID #79367)


E-Flora BC Static Map

Distribution of Canadanthus modestus
Click here to view the full interactive map and legend

Species Information

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.

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


If more than one illustration is available for a species (e.g., separate illustrations were provided for two subspecies) then links to the separate images will be provided below. Note that individual subspecies or varietal illustrations are not always available.

USDA Species Characteristics

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


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)
944 0 2005
Slope Gradient (%)
6 0 85

Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]

194 0 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
5 1 8
Modal Nutrient Regime
# 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)

Habitat and 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.

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Synonyms and Alternate Names:
Aster major (Hook.) Porter
Aster modestus Lindl.
Aster unalaschkensis var. major Hook.
Weberaster modestus (Lindl.) A. Löve & D. Löve