Aster subulatus

Aster subulatus (Michx.) Hort. ex Michx.

Common Names: Salt Marsh Aster, Bushy Starwort, Slender Aster

Family: Asteraceae

Habit: Aster subulatus as an annual to 2 m in height. The leaves are arranged alternately, to 20 cm in length, linear to lanceolate to oblanceolate with an entire margin and acute leaf apex.

The flowers are arranged in large panicles of heads. The heads are subtended by a series of involucral bracts (phyllaries). The calyx is modified as a ring of hairs (pappus).  There are both perfect and imperfect (carpellate) flowers in the heads. The perfect (disc) flowers are in the center and the imperfect (ray) flowers are arranged around the edge of the heads. Each flower is subtended by bracts.

The imperfect, zygomorphic flowers have 3 off white, fused petals and no stamens. The perfect, actinomorphic flowers have a corolla with 5 fused, white petals.  There are 5 stamens fused at their base. In both types of flowers, the ovary is inferior with a single locule but only the perfect flowers have functional ovules.  The fruit is a pubescent achene at maturity that retains the modified calyx (pappus) as white, hairlike bristles.

Habitat: Aster subulatus along the edges of ephemeral Fresh Water Wetlands, in Sabal palmetto Woodlands, and Human Altered environments (yards, gardens, fields, waste areas).

Distribution: Aster subulatus occurs on the central and northern island groupings of the Lucayan Archipelago, parts of the Greater Antilles, and eastern North America.  It is a weedy species that now occurs in South America, the Middle East, Australia and parts of Asia.

Medicinal/Cultural/Economic usage: Aster subulatus is not known to be used medicinally in the Lucayan Archipelago